Exploring Greenwich - Part 1: Where East Meets West
The first time I read about Greenwich was in my Geography class back in school when my teacher taught me about the Greenwich Prime Meridian, a line that divides eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth at Longitude 0°. Isn't it one of such facts that tickles your mind and you feel like exploring more for answers to further questions like who did that, how it became an international standard and wouldn't it be amazing to go there and someday stand between East and West?! (*eyes wide open with sparkles within*)
Little that I knew then that I would one day be living in this dream, in this beautiful part of south-east London. Yes, Greenwich!
And...there is SO much to explore in and around the Royal Borough of Greenwich that I won't be able to cover all of it within a single blog hence I've decided to put up a series of various aspects to this wonderful place saying as much in pictures as I can.
The reference line for Greenwich Mean Time, is the prime meridian. Before this was internationally accepted, every town in the world kept its own local time. I wonder how was time measured back then, at what time did the day begin and end or how long was an hour for...? Am I feeling glad to be living in a sorted world today, of course!
At this line, at any point of time if you stand with one foot on one side and the other on the left, you are perfectly in the middle of east and west. Just wondering where do you call yourself standing when you stand on that line...huh!?!
Shepherd Gate Clock
Overlooking river Thames and right at the very top of the beautiful green acres of Greenwich Park lies the Royal Observatory where this Prime Meridian passes through and thereby giving its name as Greenwich Mean Time. And there lies a big Shepherd master clock to its entrance.
This is a slave clock that was installed at the gates to the Observatory and was the first clock ever to show Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) directly to the public.
The Greenwich Time Ball
Have you ever wondered how do you know that your wall-clock, your wrist watch or even your phone is telling you exactly the right time? Did you know, back in the history, the only way to confirm the time was to look to the roof of the Observatory.
The bright red Time Ball on top of the Flamsteed House (now known as the Royal Observatory) is one of the world's earliest public time signals, distributing time to ships on the Thames and many Londoners. It was first used in 1833 and it still operates today...unreal, isn't it?
Each day, at 12.55, the time ball rises half way up its mast. At 12.58 it rises all the way to the top. At 13.00 exactly, the ball falls, and so provides a signal to anyone who happens to be looking. Of course, if you are looking the wrong way, you have to wait until the next day before it happens again.
The observatory buildings at Greenwich became a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, which is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich. It exhibits John Harrison's sea watch, the H4, arguably the most important and accurate watch ever made.
The museum does hold a huge collection of artifacts and paintings preserved to its best. Here's one I found below which captured the then view from the top hill overlooking river Thames. Well, I was clever to try and capture the same view in the present day.
And as always I can never resist clicking some of the greens around me and so here are a few of them while I climbed the hill top.
Once at the top, you get the perfect backdrop of the London skyline at Canary Wharf and hence more such photographs to follow in the next series. Ciao!