Those of us in provincial practice often think of our colleagues in the big City firms as being on another planet. But not always.

I was recently instructed by clients to sell a modest house. They had bought it in the 1980s when registration was not required, never had a mortgage, but had lost their deeds. Their former firm had closed with no successor practice and enquiries drew a blank. The clients did find some old correspondence with their vendor’s solicitor’s details, which is now one of the largest international legal practices in the City and had better remain nameless.

My heart sank. I thought we should at least ask, but how many firms still hold 35-year-old conveyancing files? To my astonishment, within two weeks the firm had found the old file and complete copies of all the relevant documents.

They know who they are if they are reading this, and a very large thank you is in order.

John Gudgeon, Hawkins Ryan, King’s Lynn