Work and Honour

As you walk into Paddington Station in London you see a Victorian shield with the mottos of the Great Western Railway. “Domine dirige nos” and “Virtute et industrial”. Now it’s a long time since my Latin lessons but I’m guessing that is something like “the Lord directs us” and “virtue and work”.
It may have been true of Victorian Britain, indeed I have read that unlike the Dickensian depiction, poverty was substantially less common than now. In any event, is it true now? Certainly in the 1980’s in my early career contracts were built on relationships, fuelled of course by alcohol. (Working lunch by another name). The lubricant now appears to be greed and the cult of “winning”. Is there virtue underpinning British industry? A glance at the “rich list” in last Sunday’s newspapers features fortunes made by Russian oligarchs (whose money is that then?), property tycoons, landed gentry, gambling empires and hedge funds. 

All a long way from Brunel, that greatest of British inventors and engineers who was the inspiration of the Great Western Railway.

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