My carriage crosses London Bridge, which people, livestock and trade have used since Roman times. The old London Bridge was Britain’s first great stone arch bridge and is forever embodied in one of my children’s favourite nursery rhymes. I am glad that it is not falling down today. This latest incarnation is called New London Bridge. I chuckle to myself. “Why change a name that works?”
My destination is the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. This was commissioned by Charles II, with the site chosen by Sir Christopher Wren and is regarded as the country’s first purpose-built scientific research facility.
My purpose today is two-fold. Firstly view the time ball on its roof, which drops at 1pm each day and is the country’s primary time signal. Secondly I had to visit the prime meridian, established by George Airy 20 years ago and is more commonly known as Greenwich Mean Time. This has become the most widely used reference point in charts and maps.
I had to visit this place. I had to stand either side of the Greenwich Meridian looking east and then west.
I stand in awe as the time ball drops. This signals the time to the ships in the Thames. This signals to me that it is time to go home. Family, football and map making await.
—————————————— © Graeme Brown 2018 ——————————————-