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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Looking from East to West

I lived in London for 6 years back in the 80s and saw quite a lot of the sights of London. One place that I never got to visit was Greenwich. Last week we took a day trip by coach to finally see this fascinating borough of London. The weather was not promising so before the rain started we headed up the hill to the Royal Observatory.

The view from here is quite spectacular looking back down on the National Maritime Museum and The Queen's House.

You can indeed see this view in a darkened turret of the observatory where a Camera Obscura projects it onto a whiteboard. It is fascinating to see the cars moving along and even people and dogs running around the park. 
There are also views across to the O2 building and the docks. In the right of this picture you can just make out the Emirates Cable Car which is a link across the Thames. Some of our party had chosen a trip on this.

We were of course in the location of the Meridian Line . The longitudinal line which gives Greenwich mean time and is the position of zero degrees between East and West. We were able to stand with one foot in each and consider our distance from friends and family.

On the railings of the Observatory stands the Shepherd Master clock which in 1852 was the first clock to show Greenwich mean time to the was used by people to set their clocks and watches. Note that it is a 24 hour clock so 12 midday is indicated by the small hand at the bottom.

Situated on the top of Flamstead House is the red Time Ball which since 1833 has been an indicator of time. It can be seen from quite a distance and in particular by boats on the Thames.

Each day at 12.55 the ball rises half way up the pole. 

Then at exactly 12.58 it raises to the top so that at 13.00 it falls giving a signal of accurate time to those watching from the Thames.

This is a truly interesting place to visit.

The museum itself contains clocks including the development of the ships clock, giant telescopes showing their importance in plotting and mapping the stars to help navigate the seas. There is a lot to see and take in.

This was only our first stop of the day but I shall save the rest for another day.


  1. Yet another place that I have never visited in the UK, must add to the list!

  2. The only time I've ever been to Greenwich, it poured. It was on a school trip in the 70's and we were frozen. Your lovely pictures give a great flavour of the place

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  4. How lovely to see these pictures as they are almost identical to the ones I took in November! It is indeed a fascinating place. I would like to go again as we didn't get to go around the museum. I used those chimneys for my scavenger hunt. Great minds, great minds.