Sunday, November 16, 2014
The exemplary bee
I've noted before how bees have been used as symbols of co-operation for hundreds of years, and as symbols of the Co-operative Movement since its first inception in the 19th century. This plaque, which I came across on a building in Loughborough, no doubt marks the site of Co-op store. The motto it bears, 'Unity is strength', was also adopted early on by the Co-operative Pioneers, although they sometimes used the form 'Union is strength'.
Although this plaque is not quite as beautifully made as the one I spotted in Wiltshire a while back, it scores highly in one key respect. While the Wiltshire example showed just the hive, this one includes actual bees in flight. These long-enduring creatures, here, so the fancy lettering proclaims, since 1865, remain to remind us of their links with industry, cooperation, sweetness, and continuing pollination and life. Whether represented artistically, as in this Loughborough street, or in their living form, they deserve our notice and respect.