Apparently half of all Britons say that storing valuables at home is the safest option. The research by Metro Bank is that we mostly choose obvious places to stash the family treasures that wouldn’t outwit the dumbest burglar – such as drawers, safes and the wardrobe. Some are more inventive and leave their jewels, cash and other treasure in commodes, among rabbit food and in a piano – though given that recent story about a haul of gold being found in an old upright, I think a robber would probably be wise to that one.
What struck me as more interesting was what those interviewed said their most prized possessions were. Photo albums, important paperwork (mortgage deeds, marriage certificates) and children’s memorabilia topped the list. I totally understand the photo album thing – I’m not being sentimental, I just love the social history of them – sepia shots of my grandparents; my parents’ very 1950s wedding with my mum looking like a starlet, spoiled slightly by the bottle of HP sauce beside the cake. I’d be really upset if they were damaged in a fire, of course. And it would be a pain to have to replace documents if they were similarly destroyed (though not impossible by any means, although potentially costly). But I can’t honestly say they are worth anything to anyone but me. And I don’t hang on to child memorabilia – what does that mean? The first shoe? Artworks from nursery school? It’s just more stuff taking up space in cupboards.
I don’t have art works or valuables, so I have the most basic, minimum home insurance – and I’ve never claimed on it. The one thing I think is irreplaceable and I treasure is my great-grandmother’s sampler - made when she was in Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury. It’s not separately insured and I don’t think it’s worth much – I doubt I’d get anything from my insurance were it destroyed. But it’s what I would grab (after the boy and the cats) if the house was on fire. That’s probably the definition of valuable, I guess.
What’s your most treasured possession? Share your thoughts below.