Greenwich - Where World's Time Starts

Among thousands of inventions that the British gave to the world, there is one that everyone surely uses and depends upon - a global system...

Among thousands of inventions that the British gave to the world, there is one that everyone surely uses and depends upon - a global system of time and time zones. And I'm not surprised that it was actually invented in Britain as it was once the largest empire and the greatest seapower ever existed. And as many of us know, a notion of time and its derivatives - longitude and latitude - are the key in sea navigation. So for that reason, Greenwich, a borough of London, was chosen a centre of world's time.

Before we actually get to the meat of this article, I'd like to mention that Greenwich is a beautiful part of London and offers some of the great views of the River Thames and the Canary Wharf, a dramatic backdrop for the National Maritime Museum as seen from the top of the hill.
Getting to Greenwich from the central part of London is easy and fast. There is a new DLR train line that takes you from Bank station all the way to Greenwich via Docklands. 
The sun was already almost set, so I made sure I walked as fast as I could to be able to see the Royal Observatory of Greenwich and its famous 0° meridian before it gets completely dark. 
Passing by a lovely and quiet neighbourhood.
The spring is already in the air and on the ground (end of February).
The observatory is up the hill cutting through the park. I love how everything is lush green in London even in the winter (mind there are almost no leaves on the trees).
I finally reached the Royal Observatory of Greenwich by 6 o'clock, but it had already been closed for the day. 
Not a big deal, here is the picture of the world famous Greenwich or 0° meridian and the story how it's all begun and become a centre of world's time system.
John Flamsteed was a famous English astronomer who came up with a formula to convert a solar time to a clock or mean time (not the best name nowadays for such a serious thing as time though). A pendulum clock was a pretty recent invention, but provided a way to measure time with required precision. Mr. Flamsteed was appointed a first Royal astronomer and basically founded the Royal Observatory of Greenwich where he installed his clock that has been used to measure Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Now, many people myself included often confuse GMT with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). So lest we forget: GMT is a time zone and UTC is a time standard. 
But not until the railway web spread across England that GMT started to be used as a standard time to avoid confusion with railway timetables (yes, every village and town had their own mean time). GMT was also popularized by British mariners in 1700s as it was used to measure a longitude or a distance east-west from the Greenwich meridian. 
And since the British back then had the largest civil and naval fleet, this laid down the basics for the marine navigation worldwide, and other countries have eventually adopted this system, too. In 1884, the Greenwich Meridian was officially accepted internationally as a transit circle at the Washington Meridian Conference, and the 24-hour time zone system we use today was born. It wasn't a hard decision since most of the world had already been using it anyway.
Fast forward to 2014-2015: we no longer rely on the clock at the Royal Observatory of Greenwich. Instead, we now use JILA Strontium Atomic Clock that is so precise that it neither loses nor gains a second in 15 billion years, according to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). And if it does lose or gain a second after that, who would then care?
A few other things that you might be interested to see while in Greenwich: Cutty Sark, a restored British clipper ship from 19th century. Looks amazing at night with all the illumination. 
Another point of interest is the foot tunnel under the River Thames. Experience London like people used to do it by crossing this mighty river on foot before the subway system was built. 
And for those who crave to learn more about the famous British marine history - there is the National Maritime Museum. Enjoy!
To prepare this article I used information from the official website of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

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