Return to sender: Only 22 years from Tulse hill

Return to sender: Only 22 years from Tulse hill

The letter dated March 5, 1990

The letter dated March 5, 1990

First published in News

A letter posted 22 years ago has just been returned to the sender – this newspaper.

On March 5, 1990 a letter detailing new advertising rates was sent by the commercial director from the company’s head office in Sandiford Road, Sutton, to a customer in Norwood Road, Tulse Hill.

That was the year of the poll tax riots and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. House music was topping the charts and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, triggering the first Gulf War.

On September 13 this year Royal Mail finally placed a sticker on the yellowing envelope announcing that the addressee had gone away and took it back to the Sandiford Road address.

From there it was forwarded to the company’s current offices in the centre of Sutton.

The letter took 22 years to complete a round-trip of just 10 miles.

In the intervening years Nelson Mandela became president of a post-apartheid South Africa, Saddam Hussein was executed for crimes against humanity and the commercial director went on to become chief executive of Newsquest, owners of this newspaper and one of the UK’s largest regional newspaper groups, following a management buyout from Reed Regional Newspapers.

Inflation has massively increased the price of most things in the past two decades, with the cost of a first-class stamp soaring from 20p to 60p.

But the cost of some of the advertising rates in our newspapers, described in the letter, have increased only marginally since the letter was sent.

It is not known where the letter has been all this time.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We are sorry for the delay. However, it is extremely unlikely that this item of mail was in our system all this time as we regularly check that all our offices are clear of mail. It is difficult to speculate what may have happened but almost certainly it was put back in a post box very recently."

Comments (5)

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7:28pm Thu 4 Oct 12

QPR4Me says...

"We are sorry for the delay. However, it is extremely unlikely that this item of mail was in our system all this time as we regularly check that all our offices are clear of mail. It is difficult to speculate what may have happened but almost certainly it was put back in a post box very recently."

They would say that, wouldn't they?
"We are sorry for the delay. However, it is extremely unlikely that this item of mail was in our system all this time as we regularly check that all our offices are clear of mail. It is difficult to speculate what may have happened but almost certainly it was put back in a post box very recently." They would say that, wouldn't they? QPR4Me
  • Score: 0

5:40am Fri 5 Oct 12

Baron Digger says...

Is this really news? It would have been more interesting if the envelope had a cheque for £1000 in it!
Is this really news? It would have been more interesting if the envelope had a cheque for £1000 in it! Baron Digger
  • Score: 0

7:51pm Fri 5 Oct 12

AlKnowsBest says...

A cheque? Someone needs to tell Baron Digger that cheques expire after 6 months. So, one in the letter would be rendered useless had that been the case!

Oooh, QPHa4Me, you're right! At least we know how often they sweep under their sorting machinery.
A cheque? Someone needs to tell Baron Digger that cheques expire after 6 months. So, one in the letter would be rendered useless had that been the case! Oooh, QPHa4Me, you're right! At least we know how often they sweep under their sorting machinery. AlKnowsBest
  • Score: 0

7:03am Sat 6 Oct 12

Baron Digger says...

Thanks to"AlKnowsBest" for putting right, how silly of me to think that the cheque would still be cashable....it still made a talking point though!
Thanks to"AlKnowsBest" for putting right, how silly of me to think that the cheque would still be cashable....it still made a talking point though! Baron Digger
  • Score: 0

11:09am Mon 8 Oct 12

Dennis R says...

I wonder if they charged the sender storage fees for all those years.
I wonder if they charged the sender storage fees for all those years. Dennis R
  • Score: 0

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