We didn’t realise it but it turns out we’re celebrating our 400th anniversary this year, in a here-we-go-round-the-mulberry-bush sort of way. Today’s Times carries a fascinating letter – if slightly arcane – from the Master of the Garden of the Inner Temple, London (no less) explaining the provenance of the two mulberry trees that grow there. It emerges that the mulberry was introduced into England exactly 400 years ago, in 1608, by James I in an attempt to build a luxury goods manufacturing base here. Only he chose the wrong kind of Mulberry. I thought that sort of flawed decision making was a more recent British thing, but obviously we’ve been doing it for centuries.
What would children have sung about I wonder, and what would we have called our company, if the first Jacobean monarch had not shown this entrepreneurial flair?