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Shed of the Year: Skeletons, love letters, and secret dens

A survey ahead of the annual competition shows that Britons use their sheds as more than a place to keep their rusty tools

If you thought sheds were boring, dust-filled, over-sized toolboxes, think again. Letters from ex-lovers, human skeletons, and wisdom teeth are among the bizarre objects to fill the nation’s sheds, according to a survey ahead of the annual Shed of the Year contest.

Whether shed owners are content with the common-or-garden varnished offerings on sale at their local DIY store, or are part of the elite group of ‘sheddies’ who decorate their wooden havens according to detailed themes, research shows that many owners regard their shed as a retreat from the daily grind. 

12 per cent of 1000 shed-owners surveyed said they feel happiest when they spend time in their shed, while almost a quarter of men claim that spending time in their shed makes them feel more masculine.


Less positively, one in five people admitted to spending time in their shed to avoid their partner, and a quarter of those questioned prefer being in their shed over seeing their in-laws. 8 per cent would even rather spend time in their shed than be intimate with their partner.

Britons are also using their sheds as a place to keep secrets from their partner, with 9 per cent of people storing secret unhealthy snacks, and 4 per cent keeping secret love letters from an ex-partner.

Some of the unusual, and unnerving, objects that people admitted to keeping in sheds included: the ashes of relatives, human skeletons, camels heads, wisdom teeth, and old breast implants.

Cuprinol, who commissioned the survey, are now accepting entries for eighth annual Shed of the Year competition, with categories including: Normal, Eco, Garden Office, Cabin/Summerhouse, Workship/Studio, Unique, Pub, and Tardis.

Alex Holland from Machynlleth in mid Wales won last year for his Boat Roofed shed – a unique and beautifully crafted shed made from a recycled upturned boat for a roof and located at an altitude of 750ft above sea level in the Cambrian Mountain range.