Jolly Useful London Things



I was fooling around with a new Bryant & May short story earlier today, and stumbled across some examples of Things London Used To Do Jolly Well But Stopped Doing. One of them, the Porter’s Rest on Piccadilly, was reinstated at a ceremony recently.

Another was the Daily Telegraph information service. Started in 1948, it undertook research for people who had neither the time nor resources to find the answers themselves. You’d phone them, ask a question and they’d put it to a team of academics who’d come back to you half an hour later. You know, sort of like an internet thing. Oh, and it was free. It’s still going, but is now outsourced and obscenely expensive to use.

Another jolly useful thing was this, measuring the London temperature from the Air Ministry roof. With thermometers and that.

Baker Street Lost Property Office is in its 82nd year and still going strong. Just as well, considering 10,907 umbrellas were lost in the past year on London’s public transport. These days when items come into the office, their details are entered into a computer system called Sherlock, after the office’s nearby neighbour.

Each piece of lost property is tagged with a description and date, receiving a red label if it was found in a taxi, a white one if it was left on a bus or a yellow one if it ended up on a train or at a station.

Any other jolly useful services? Pop them below please!

6 comments on “Jolly Useful London Things”

  1. Jo W says:

    Not a useful service,Chris but a new reader to report. This morning, ‘im indoors returned my copy of 77 clocks. The title had intrigued him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Another fan for Arthur! I’m wondering which will be his next choice. Will this in house library lending service be classed as a really useful service? (He is the second B&M reader I’ve recruited,my little bruvver was the first.) 😉

  2. Stephen says:

    Hi Chris, hopefully there will be another collection of Bryant and May stories.

  3. Vivienne says:

    Came upon the porter’s rest a while ago. Will revisit if it has been revamped. There are no longer urchins, alas, to hold one’s horse for Bond Street shopping. Wracking my brains for other London jolly useful stuff.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    How about postboxes? Can you still post a letter in a box on the street? Some jolly useful things probably disappeared because they were not perceived as being used.

  5. Wayne Mook says:

    Yes, we posted our vote about Europe Sunday in a nice red and black cylinder with it’s oddly shaped hat. Actually near my friend’s there is a red post box embedded in a wall. So some post boxes are actually boxes.


  6. Helen Martin says:

    So glad to hear that, Wayne. Our boxes *are* box shaped and they, along with power boxes, were being covered with graffiti, so the powers that be have commissioned some sort of plastic film for the boxes. Post boxes have a pattern of postal codes and the power boxes have floral or greenery pictures appropriate to the area. No more graffiti.

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