My visit to Greenwich, home to the Prime Meridian and the Royal Observatory, was a fascinating dive into the world of timekeeping and astronomy. I took the rail to Maze Hill.
The Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian
The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is a site of global significance. Standing on the Prime Meridian line, where East meets West at Longitude 0°, was a surreal experience.
It’s a symbol of the time zones that structure our world. The sense of standing at the center of time and space was both humbling and exhilarating.
Harrison’s Fourth Timekeeper: A Marvel of Horology
Inside the Observatory, the display of time-tracking devices was a highlight. Among these, John Harrison’s fourth timekeeper, known as H4. This remarkable timepiece, crucial in solving the longitude problem in sea navigation, is arguably one of the most important ever made.
And this is the Octagon Room. There’s strangely no opening on the roof to look at the stars.
The Red Ball Drop Tradition
An unexpected and intriguing spectacle at the Observatory was the red ball drop at 1 PM. This tradition, where a large red ball drops down a mast, was historically used by sailors on the Thames to set their chronometers. The ball is still dropped at 1 PM today. Probably mostly ceremonial at this point.
And it drops:
The Serene Beauty of Greenwich Park
After the rich historical exploration, a stroll through Greenwich Park provided a perfect counterpoint.
Its lush greenery and tranquil atmosphere offered a moment of relaxation and reflection on the day’s discoveries.
Using Uber to book the train ticket back
Embarking from Maze Hill station, the train journey to London Bridge was a seamless blend of urban scenery and efficiency. Gazing out at the evolving cityscape, the short ride was a prelude to the culinary adventure awaiting at Borough Market.
And of course going back to London Bridge.