Greenwich Mean Time

Before visiting Greenwich I must admit I wasn’t sure what GMT stood for, I just knew it was the local time zone for London during the late Fall/Winter months.  Coming from America’s Midwest, we are on the Eastern Standard Time (EST) or Central Standard Time (CST), depending on where you are.  But my husband’s curiosity lead us on an adventure one sunny weekend day, and after a Tube and boat ride, we were in Greenwich.
Charles II built the Royal Observatory in 1675, and appointed the first Astronomer Royale, John Flamsteed, to help solve the ‘riddle of longitude.’  The Flamsteed House, the original structure, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the first purpose built scientific research center in Britain.
As British mariners became more advanced, they would begin to use the Greenwich meridian to calculate their longitudes.  This idea caught on with other sailors, as they began to use the Greenwich meridian as a time reference.  So you could say that GMT is the official “beginning of time.”  Every other time zone began to be measured against it. So, for example, our EST in America is often quoted as “GMT minus 5.”
In 1851, the Prime Meridian was established, and in 1884 was adopted by the rest of the world as the official dividing line of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.  So on this spot you can literally stand with one foot in the Western Hemisphere and the other foot in the Eastern Hemisphere.  Until 1954, the time observations made in the Greenwich Observatory was what GMT was based on; today, other observatories are used.
I’m not sure what my husband liked best, literally walking over the Prime Meridian that runs through hilly Greenwich Park, or finding a good local brewery nearby.
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About expatmama

Karla Oselka Walsworth is a freelance writer/blogger, born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She has lived abroad twice, most recently in London, and keeps a blog on Expat living and traveling with children, www.expatmama.wordpress.com. Living in the last five years in four different cities, her writings tend to focus on challenges of moving/living with children while exposing them to all this planet has to offer. Karla, who has her MBA from the University of Illinois, and is also a certified 200 hour yoga instructor, has settled (for this moment) in the Midwest. As a recovering accountant and budding writer, she is actively raising two children with her husband Eric, hoping to give them as global a perspective as one can, at ages 7 and 4.
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4 Responses to Greenwich Mean Time

  1. Jan says:

    Which he liked best? That’s a tough call and one I bet even he couldn’t answer 🙂 Love the picture.

  2. Pam Oselka says:

    So interesting–Dad will love it! I also love the photo–looks like Ella had a great time also.

  3. clay stroup says:

    Uh, brewery!

  4. Chris says:

    Then I’m sure you’ll love the origin of the metric system — ever wonder what a meter actually is? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_system

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