The Museum recently acquired a two-volume, illustrated set of Shakespeare’s works. In the front is a hand-written inscription:
Patea 15th October 1895
To Nr W S McNicol, NZ Railway Department
Sir – We, the undersigned business men of Patea, in consideration of your uniform courtesy and attention as clerk at the Railway Station, beg to present you with a slight mark of our appreciation and respect on your leaving here, and doubt not that your uniform courtesy and consideration will lead to your advancement in the service.
Yours faithfully, John Gibson
There are 24 signatures on the page, including some names which clearly still have a local connection; among these are McCarty & Hunger, W Derrett, and E Honeyfield.
What I love this, apart from the local connection, is the value these pioneering businessmen put on courtesy. I wonder how many people are told these days that their career is going to go well because they are always so polite? It just shows how much our standards, and what we value, have changed in the last 120 years.