“The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
William Blake’s famous words took on a strong significance for Talking Shop during a recent trip to London.
At the end of a tumultuous week in City history, Talking Shop took a Sunday stroll up the iconic Threadneedle Street, past the Bank of England, Tower 42, and the Lloyd’s of London building, en route to 30 St Mary Axe, the Gherkin.
Tucked under the impressive steel and glass temples of 21st century capitalism is a beautiful old church which immediately brought Blake’s words to mind.
St Andrew Undershaft was a hub of activity as the rest of the city lay largely in silence. First built in the 12th century , it pre-dates all of the City’s hedge funds, brokers and investment banks. It has survived the Great Fire of London,the Second World War and an IRA explosion in 1992.
St Andrew Undershaft is an unshakeable pillar in an otherwise world of boom and bust. It has quietly watched turbulent times come and go and will probably see many more eras of excess and times of crises.
Understanding its history might help bring a little perspective to current challenges — and bring a little reflection on the consequences of financial excess.
It certainly gave Talking Shop food for thought.