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Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010, 12:26 pm
The London Borough Motto Awards

Welcome to the London Borough Motto Awards! There's a lot to get through, so let's get started.

The award for smuggest motto goes, perhaps unsurprisingly, to Kensington and Chelsea, with What a good thing it is to live together in unity.

The award for daftest motto that is, okay, slightly endearing in its enthusiastic brashness goes—again perhaps unsurprisingly!—to Shoreditch, with More Light, More Power. Well done Shoreditch, even though you're not actually a borough! Not quite sure what you mean there, but I'm sure it makes sense to someone!

The award for Borough whose motto most dramatically increased in ambition when that borough became a London borough rather than a county borough goes to Croydon, for its switch from May We Grow In Health to Let Us Strive After Perfection. Nice work, Croydon.

The award for motto that seriously makes no sense, what? goes to Barnet, with Willingness Rids Way (which is from a speech in Henry VI Part 3, so presumably Barnet is trying to woo kerrypolka and the_alchemist, but I'm pretty sure there are some lines they could have chosen which would, say, actually have made any sense at all).

The award for Borough whose residents are most likely to be cannibals in an episode of the Twilight Zone goes to Bromley, with Serving the People.

The award for Most cheery motto with an edge of desperation goes to Waltham Forest, with Fellowship is Life. Don't worry, Waltham Forest, it's all going to be okay.

The award for Most embarrassing wore-the-same-dress-to-the-party motto clash had a field of exceptionally strong candidates, for example...
Islington: We Serve. Wandsworth: We Serve.
Harrow: The good of the people is the highest law. Lewisham: The welfare of the people is the highest law.
...so in the end the judges decided to give the award to the mottos that sounded most like a series of dance steps. Congratulations Brent, Hillingon and Hounslow!
Brent: Forward Together. Hillingon: Forward. Hounslow: Let us go forward together.

Now we get to the two big awards of the afternoon. I'm delighted to announce that the winner of the prize for motto that sounds most like it belongs to a totalitarian government in a piece of 1980s dystopian fiction goes to Redbridge, with In Unity Progress!

Of course "progress" tends to sound dystopic by nature, and that makes it all the more impressive that the winner for most charming motto is Newham, with Progress With The People. Well done Newham! It was a close-fought battle, with Tower Hamlets' cheerful From Great Things To Greater coming in a close second.

The full list of mottos:
BARKING AND DAGENHAM: By the grace of god, let us be judged by our deeds (Dei Gratia Probemur Rebus)
BARNET: Willingness Rids Way
BEXLEY: Boldly and Rightly
BRENT: Forward Together
BROMLEY: Serving the People
CAMDEN: Not for self, but for all (Non Sibi Sed Toti)
CROYDON: Let us strive after perfection (Ad Summa Nitamur)
EALING: Progress with Unity
ENFIELD: By Industry Ever Stronger
GREENWICH: We Govern By Serving
HACKNEY: Being fair is what makes us strong (Justitia turris nostra)
HARINGEY: Progress By Humanity
HARROW: The good of the people is the highest law (Salus Populi Suprema Lex)
HOUNSLOW: Let us go forward together (Juncti Progrediamur)
KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA: What a good thing it is to dwell together in unity (Quam Bonum In Unum Habitare)
KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES: No apparent motto
LAMBETH: Let us be judged by our acts (Spectemur Agendo)
LEWISHAM: The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law
MERTON: Stand Fast In Honour And Strength
NEWHAM: Progress With The People
REDBRIDGE: In Unity Progress
RICHMOND-UPON-THAMES: No apparent motto
SHOREDITCH [not a borough]: More Light, More Power
SOUTHWARK: United To Serve
SUTTON: Through difficulties serve God in faith (Per Ardua In Fide Servite Deo)
TOWER HAMLETS: From Great Things To Greater
WALTHAM FOREST: Fellowship Is Life
WESTMINSTER: O Lord, watch over the City (Custodi Civitatem Domine)

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)

Islington: We Serve. Wandsworth: We Serve.

I think we need to start an internet grassroots campaign to get Wandsworth to change theirs to "We Serve Too".

All we need is someone from Wandsworth to act as the public face of our movement.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)

What! Wandsworth is bigger than Islington and has more people. If anyone's going to change their motto, it's not us.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC)

Fair point. I shall notify Islington that their straw has been found to be shorter.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)

Greenwich sounds like a reply to them. "You serve, huh? We govern by serving."

Love this post.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)

There is no Borough of Shoreditch! It's mostly in Hackney... Also, does the City of London have a motto?

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)

Tsch, yes, of course! It does have its own motto, though, which must have got jumbled in with the list during "research". Have edited this to note it.

The City of London does - it's written under all the dragons. Domine Dirige Nos / Lord, Guide Us. But it's also not a London Borough.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)

Is Westminster a London borough? I thought it was a city.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)

It is, surprisingly enough! As well as being a City... No I do not understand the technicalities of 'Borough'-hood though I still think the City of London has more right to be included than Shoreditch!

Still, a FINE LIST of inspiring slogans.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)

I agree that it has more right, and Shoreditch has no business being included at all, but its motto is so much better.
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Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)

Hmm, "this commemorates the provision of electric power to the Borough from the Vestry of St Leonard Shoreditch Electric Light Station, later known as the Shoreditch Borough Refuse Destructor and Generating Station. This building in Coronet Street (now The Circus Space), burned rubbish to provide steam for the electricity generator, and the waste heat was used to heat the public baths."
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Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)

Oh dear! You make a compelling argument, and I regret my previous objections to Shoreditch, which is clearly still in recovery from its centuries of exploitation.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)

"The City of Westminster is a London borough", says Wikipedia.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)

As Newham's elected representative, may I say how delighted I am to accept this award on their behalf? I must add that Newham has done sterling work in improving its motto, which used to be the rather dull "Working for you".
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Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)

Glad to hear it!

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)

Kensington and Chelsea should have been able to find someone with better Latin than they seem to have.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)

If it's the extra "i" you object to, that's my transcription rather than their Latin, unsurprisingly - fixed now.

My favourite thing about Kensington and Chelsea council is that they have a row of portraits of their mayors, and the most recent several mayors are all depicted with their pets, in the style of a series of evil masterminds. (They also have an enormous version of their crest and motto embroidered into the carpet of the mayoral chambers.)

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)

This post is fab :-)

Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)


Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)

I think the Barnet one you have is the East Barnet before it merged with the rest of Barnet, The London Borough of Barnet is Unitas efficit ministerium. So much like all the other "we serve" and not as interesting as East Barnet's inscrutable one. Although apparently Willingness rids way comes from a speech made by Edward II after the battle of Barnet.