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10 Unusual Things That Have Been Found in a Skip

You might have imagined that the job of renting out and collecting skips would be a very much mundane one, with few shocks or surprises.

Well, you wouldn’t be quite right there – at least if the below list of less-than-conventional objects to have previously been found in a skip is anything to go by!

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These are just some of the weird or wonderful items to have made their way into a skip down the years, and their associated stories.

1. Photos of an under-construction Tower Bridge

It’s not every day that you get to see snaps of the construction of one of London’s most iconic landmarks, but 50 sepia photos showing the building of Tower Bridge in the late 19th century were shared with the world in 2011.

For five years, they had been kept in a carrier bag beneath a bed, after being discovered by a caretaker in a skip while he oversaw the conversion of an office building into flats.

The photos depict the bridge’s steel frame, before it was covered in the stone cladding by which most of us recognise it today.

2. Lost Peter Sellers films

The late Peter Sellers was one of the icons of British film and TV, most famous for his role as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies, in addition to the cult BBC radio comedy The Goon Show.

However, when the manager of an old Park Lane Films property was clearing the property out ahead of a refurbishment in 1996, he spotted 21 film cans in a skip that he thought “would be good for storing my Super 8 collection in”.

Only much more recently did he actually look at what was inside the tins and discover “the negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and the master print” for two Sellers films that were thought to be lost, 1957’s Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You.

3. Ivor Novello award

There can be few higher honours for a songwriter than an Ivor Novello award, so the appearance of one in a Croydon skip certainly raised eyebrows back in 2013.

The Metropolitan Police issued an appeal to find its owner, and there were rumours that it could have belonged to previous Ivor Novello award recipients Cher or Robbie Williams.

It turned out to be an old display model that had been made for the Ivor Novello Institute and never awarded to anyone.

4. 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide motorbike

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This exceptionally rare motorcycle was discovered in a skip by its owner in the 1960s, when an administrative error at a Liverpool storage lock-up resulted in it being placed dismantled into a skip.

In 2007, having been brought back to the owner’s home, the bike began to undergo restoration, only for the owner to sadly die before seeing the finished rebuild.

Nonetheless, it’s fair to say that the fully restored motorcycle would have left him beaming with pride. It was put up for auction in 2015, with Bonhams describing it as “one of the holy grails of the motorcycle world”.

5. Urns containing human ashes

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Staff at a Motherwell recycling yard had to be diligent in spotting some plastic urns containing human ashes, as had been placed in a skip by a company after a house clearance.

Indeed, the urns would have been emptied and crushed if they did not have stickers on them showing the names of the deceased and the dates of their funerals.

The deceased were a couple, William and Mary Ann Hunter, and their granddaughter was understandably upset by the incident, but grateful to collect the urns from the depot.

6. Two coffins

Continuing the slightly ghoulish theme, a Scottish couple attending the funeral of a loved one in Clydebank in 2013 were stunned to find two coffins dumped inside a skip while discarding dead flowers. Thankfully, they were empty.

A council spokesman stated: “These coffins were incorrectly placed in a council skip by a funeral director. The council arranged to have them removed immediately.”

7. World War I letters

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Personal letters between a soldier and his adoring wife were discovered in a skip, giving a fascinating insight into life on the front line for soldier Willie Griffiths.

It seemed that the soldier – from Sunderland – survived the war’s atrocities but was uncomfortable with war, commenting: “It is quite an experience to be out here, if it was only for some other purpose than fighting.

“There is such a lot to see and learn here. But to think it is just to try and kill somebody, it sounds like murder.”

8. Amy Winehouse’s wedding album

The late singer’s marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil may have only lasted two years, but one might have expected them to keep hold of their wedding album.

Sure enough, it seems that the snaps were not in Winehouse’s possession when they first went missing, her spokesman stating when the album was found in a skip in Kilburn in 2009: “She would definitely like it back.”

9. Guinea pig

It makes us sad to read of live animals being dumped in a skip, but in all fairness, in the case of the guinea pig later called Andy after the council worker who first spotted him in a landfill skip, it was a mystery how he ended up there.

The “frightened and a bit wet and soggy” animal was saved from having landfill dumped on him and found a new home with a retired Inland Revenue worker in Oxfordshire. It’s lovely to see that this particular near-miss of a story had such a happy ending.

10. Caravan

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This one has to be our favourite! Yes, an entire 1.3-tonne caravan was found perched on an otherwise empty skip in Newport, and unsurprisingly, the local company from which the skip had been hired refused to collect it.

As skip driver Tyrone Covell recalled: “When I pulled up to collect the skip, I had to double take; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I called the office to let them know what I had found but I was half expecting them to jump out of the bushes laughing at me – for a minute I thought it was a practical joke!”

A spokeswoman for the company added: “They were just pushing their luck. They probably knew we wouldn’t take it.”

As you can probably guess, not all of the above items are ones we would happily accept in a skip from ourselves here at Able Skip Hire Ltd! Take the time to familiarise yourself with the restrictions on what you can and can’t store in a skip hired from us, then get in touch to talk to us about our acclaimed services.

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