As the year was nearing its end we had an offer to visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. This was a place I had admired from afar but never had the opportunity to visit which is rather silly as I don’t live far. A friend of ours is a curator there and took time out of his busy schedule to show us around.
The museum is huge and we did not even make a dent in all the exhibitions but we made sure we checked out the Nelson room and the room dedicated to WW1. There was a huge number of ships, objects from ships and other memorabilia dating back many centuries, amazing that we can still gaze upon them today.
After a quick cup of tea we made our way up the hill to the observatory, a great way to walk off the turkey and chocolate consumed over the past week.
The day was crisp and clear so the views over London were amazing. The Royal Park and Palace looked stunning against a backdrop of modern. An amazing blend of modern and history, which is probably a good description of London as a whole.
Greenwich is the location of the Prime Meridian Line, the line that separates East from West and all time is set from, rather fitting as we were nearing the end of another year.
The bright red Time Ball on top of Flamsteed House 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 still operates today.
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. This was the only way everyone rich or poor could tell the time before then only the rich could afford to purchase clocks and watches and many used sundials. This was haphazard and led to many different time ‘zones’ in the UK and as a result led to the creation of Standard Time based on the Prime Meridian based at Greenwich. The Prime Meridian became the centre of world time, and was the official starting point for the new Millennium.
The day was fantastic, great company and brilliant things to look at. I would recommend a day out at the Royal Museums Greenwich, brilliant for all ages with plenty for kids to do and for the adults to see a lovely place to come to in the summer and have a picnic in the park. For more details click here.