Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Old friends

Back in 1960 I did temporary work in London where several Australians were doing similar work. I had my son in July 1961 and then became a stay at home mum. I had exchanged addresses with a girl called Eleanor Clarke but we then lost touch. Many years later, my husband and I thought we might like to visit Australia. I sent a letter to Eleanor to her old address, in Glengowrie. The letter was passed on and on by neighbours and I finally had a reply from Sydney where she then lived.

telephone number

30 or more years ago we lived in Banstead, Surrey. During that time husband's parents moved from Surrey to the Ramsgate area in Kent. With no phone connection at their bungalow we urged them to get a phone put in so that we could have ease of contact and they made the arrangements. Imagine our surprise when they told us their new phone number - Thanet 3xxx18, our number in Banstead was also 3xxx18 (can't remember the area code).

stopping clock

My Aunt bought me a small clock for a wedding present, one day it stopped working for no reason. I then found out some weeks later it stopped at the time she had died. It has never worked since

birthday coincidence

When deciding to call my new baby daughter Katherine I wanted to ensure I spelt her name correctly when registering her birth. I remembered that Katharine Hepburn was in a film on television that week so I looked up her name in the cast list in the Radio Times magazine and spelt it the same way. I would joke that Katharine had been named after Katharine Hepburn. A year or so later on reading an article about her somewhere I learnt that Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12th, the same birthday as my daughter's.

holiday meeting

About 12 years ago, my aunt and i visited relations in New Hampshire America , the only time i had visited, we were invited to a cousins graduation in Boston. Whilst there we did some sightseeing and stopped to talk to a policeman on horseback. Another tourist tapped me on the shoulder and said "excuse me i hear from your accent you are Welsh, which part of the country do you come from ?. I said South Wales a town which you probably don,t know .

Mrs (Gillian Beaumont)

Out of the blue, my husband started to talk about our longstanding wish to visit California, and I replied that since we hadn't got around to it in 40 years we were unlikely ever to do so. I then powered up my computer, only to find an e-mail from a holiday company with which we'd previously travelled, advertising an interesting trip there at a reasonable price. Readers, we booked and are off in May!

Pregnancy and baby DOB coincidences

I have once sold a maternity dress via EBay to a buyer who emailed me to say the dress – although new- had a small tear, never the less, she left me positive feedback. This prompted me to reply and we have kept in touch. We were both pregnant at the time, both expecting a baby (one in Sept and the other one in Oct).


I live in Leicestershire and went on holiday with a friend after cancer treatment to Llandudno. My hair was just growing back so I thought I won't wear a wig now as no one one here will know me At the hotel after our evening meal, I sat in the conservatory with my back to the conservatory door when a lady approached me and asked me if I had a sister called Susan? I was shocked. Yes, as a twin, I was use to people thinking I was my sister but in Wales and looking so very different, I couldn't believe it!

the menu in An Amazing Meeting

Some years ago my wife and I were returning from a holiday on the Isle of Wight. We caught an earlier ferry than the one that had been prebooked, and on the return journey to Cheshire, we stopped at a public house for a quick meal. However, the menu available was not to our liking so we left immediately to find another place to eat.

Waiting for a Ferry

My husband and daughter (we live in the suburbs bordering Kent and London), were going to France for a couple of days. Whilst waiting in the queue of cars waiting to drive onto the ferry at portsmouth, my husband was looking into the car next to him in disbelief. His cousin (who lives in Lancashire), was in the car alonsgside my husband with his wife and 2 children. They ended up getting the ferry together and having fun in France until my husbands cousin, continued his journey to Belgium.