Every now and then when I go past Baker Street in London, I stop to take a look in the window of the TFL Lost Property office.
It’s one of London’s odd places. You can’t actually go in, but the window regularly changes displaying different things left during the years, from 80’s mobile phones the size of bricks to Beatles records from the 70’s and beautiful vintage cameras. The office handles over 300,000 items per year, find 150 phones per day, people reclaim about 22% of the items found. The items are all logged on their system called Sherlock, and the most commonly lost items are umbrellas.
What I love about this place, as a writer, is the stories behind the items. Who were the people who left them? Why didn’t they claim them? Did they leave them behind deliberately? There’s so much mystery in the objects, some of which are quite valluable.
My short list of favourite items left on public transport in London, in no particular order:
- A stuffed puffer fish
- loads of African carvings
- A judge’s wig
- A prosthetic leg
- An urn containing ashes – which was finally collected 7 years later
- A wedding dress
- A full size house carpet
- A complete drum kit.