Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Article excerpt

H.V. MORTON'S collection of essays The Heart of London was published in 1925. Morton's London is compared with that of today:

We walked down a long avenue packed with umbrellas. There must have been over twenty thousand of them!... Here and there you see a dog-headed handle, a handle shaped like a bird, or a handle carved to the shape of a pierrot s head, a pathetic white face with drooping carmine lips, which seems crying to be claimed and taken home!

Scotland Yard's Lost Property Office has no latter-day equivalent at New Scotland Yard. London's police stations now deal with the problem individually. But each needs a full-time officer to cope. Absent-mindedness never goes out of fashion.

Umbrellas, however, do. Or at least ornately-handled ones. `We don't get many umbrellas handed in,' says the property officer at Belgravia police station. `Today's are all cheap plastic models, and who minds losing those?'

Instead, Londoners lose their mobile phones. …

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