Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

coincidence of Cambridge coincidences

On of the questions in the Cambridge entrance exam I sat in 1974 was on "coincidence" and I wrote an essay about setting up an organisation for the study of coincidence. I don't suppose Prof Spiegelhalter has been dredging through historic exam papers looking for inspiration! I went on to postulate that the institute discovered that it was all being controlled by aliens. Now it really would be a coincidence if that bit happened too. Incidentally I passed the exam.

Our House

We bought our house in 1983 from the late Mrs G-T. In the attic was a suitcase with shipping line stickers for Mr G-T and a neighbour told us it was her son in the Merchant Navy. My in-laws visited us (they are Australian) and realising son and family were settled in the UK returned home to sell the family house and live at their beach place down the coast. They changed their mind sometime later and went up to Sydney house hunting which meant booking into a hotel. While waiting at reception they got chatting to an English girl who lived in Canberra and told them of their visits.

Bill and Bill

Two families of four, living within one street of one another, and friends. William, Gladys, Alan, Janet. William, Gladys, Alan, Janet.

Anniversary births/meeting work colleague

My brother, my parent's 3rd child, was born on their wedding anniversary(9th); my third child, a girl, was born on my wedding anniversary (10th). A friend and I enjoy visiting National Trust properties, but often end up running round as we arrive late in the day en route from another visit. This time we managed a look round the outside and a cup of tea under the trees of the cafe. As we gratefully drank the tea, a voice asked my friend if he had been in Africa during the fifties; my friend had worked in Africa for most of his life and had indeed been there during the fifties.

Simple birthdays

My ex-wife has two sisters; they're twins, and their birthday is 9 April. I have one sister, whose birthday is also 9 April. I have three daughters, who have an easy task remembering family birthdays: one date, one gender. Apart from me (the father in the story), there has been a continuous trail of eight daughters, with no sons on either side of the family... I've long said that women are the future....

Ms Miranda K

I met my husband at the wedding of two of my oldest friends. Since then, my friend gave birth to her daughter on my birthday and I gave birth to my son on my friend's birthday - what are the chances of that?!

Libby G

Listen to this - I think it is quite an amazing co-incidence! Years ago I lived and worked in Namibia - or South West Africa as it was called then. Two of us spent a wonderful weekend camping in the Namib Desert. Namib means "vast" and it is all of that. Distances between places are huge and in those days I think the population in the whole huge country was something like one million people. Traffic on the main roads was minimal and in the desert virtually non-existent.

Roderick M

1) In 1983 I attended a one-week seminar in Donaueschingen. The seminar was held in French, but attracted teachers of languages in the main from various European countries, including Germany, where I once lived and worked. When on the course, I met Alfons G, from Germany, who also was a teacher of modern languages. He gave me his address and said I was welcome to stay at their house in Germany. A year later I was in East Berlin for three days, walking in the centre, when I saw a familiar head. I went up to this person.

School/university

When I had done one year at grammar school my parents moved from Warwickshire to Surrey and I entered my new school in the second year and took over the text books and place in class of a girl called Angela who had moved to north London. After school I went on the university to study agriculture. The first woman fresher that I met was the same Angela. The school she had moved to was the one my mother had attended.

Walking into a window

I was in my local (Worthing) Citroen garage collecting my car following it's service when there was a loud bang. Everybody in the place turned to look and saw a man holding his face in his hands. He had walked into the showroom window. A few minutes later, there was another loud bang and unbelievably, somebody else had done exactly the same thing. The staff at the garage could not understand what was going on and the service manager said he had worked at the same place for a number of years and that nobody had ever walked into the window before in all the time he had worked there.

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