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Dear Henry,

I am intrigued by Umbrella etiquette.

I am new to London and have lived most of my life overseas in the southern part of America.

First, do you always carry an umbrella in anything but summer? Secondly, I am from a country where you have wide sidewalks (PG translation – Pavements) and wondered how you are suppose to navigate these small streets with big umbrellas?

Yours Sincerely,




Dear Thomas,

Sorry your most dramatic act of rebellion these days is leaving your apartment without an umbrella.”Unknown

Gosh, an interesting time to ask about Umbrellas, when we are supposed to be heading to Summer. But as you rightly gathered my young friend, in the UK there is always a chance of rain! 

Now, I am one who checks the weather every morning to see whether I need an umbrella on my daily walk through London. Some of my chums are a little more lackadaisical about the whole thing and just wing it, while my conservative friends always have an umbrella in hand at the slightest hint of a rain drop! I do get your point about the umbrella etiquette, there are people out there who don’t have a clue, so let me give a few tips on the dance of umbrellas.

–  Umbrellas increase the personal space that you have, so be more aware of your surroundings. Don’t juggle phone and umbrella.

–  If you are taller, raise your umbrella above the shorter person & their umbrella, and if shorter than the oncoming individual pull the umbrella that little bit tighter.

–  If it is too narrow, let people pass, especially those without an umbrella. You are dry.

– You can, and should, tilt your umbrella away from the person instead of or as well as raising the umbrella.

– You don’t need a massive golf umbrella that you can’t see out of!

– Remember, when you have come in from the rain, the umbrella is wet, so respect your environment and don’t go leaving a wet trail everywhere.

Also whilst walking with one folded up there is no need to brandish it as a sword or to carry it in hand and swing so that you poke the people behind.  Walk with it as you would a cane.

One final thing about umbrellas, my dear friend from the Theatrical world says that all umbrellas are common property and that if you loose one on the train, you will find one at the office.  I don’t want to loose my James Smith one though!

That reminds me of the tale of the pink umbrella but that is a story over a glass of whiskey out of the rain!

Toodle Pip,


If you have a question for Uncle Henry email or #askhenry on Twitter @ThePGentlemen

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