Grey bricks in a line cemented across pavement and road

Greenwich Meridian Line

The Greenwich Meridian Line marks the point where time begins, sort of.

The line begins at the Royal Observatory Greenwich which is now a very fine museum.

Once I worked at the gate of the museum had to turn away a group of drunk Australians who’d arrived at closing time, around 5pm.

“We came half way round the world to see this, please let us in this just once” one said.

“We shouldn’t have stayed for that last pint” said another.

I directed them, like we directed all the latecomers, letting them in on a little secret: there is another section of the line outside the gate and round the corner to the left.

Nice views from the top of the hill by the Royal Observatory

But it’s better to pay the £10-£15 entrance fee and stand in the proper bit of the line, get a photo, and spend a few hours wandering the observatory museum and touching a real life space metiorite.

Stargazing, the Royal Navy docks, and the invention of the grandfather clock, all came together at this point, back in the day.

The stars aligned to allow sailors to navigate the world, and the likes of Sir Francis Drake to sail around the world while still knowing when it’s tea-time back where he set off in Greenwich.

Another secret is the Greenwich Meridian line is also marked on The Avenue road leading up to the museum and the line happens to extend right around the globe, in case you’re pissed and missed the museum opening time.

Sometimes a laser light marks the line firing out of the observatory for miles.

But it’s only accurate for about ten miles, then it’s slightly off because they built a new tower-block in the way and didn’t like the laser target spot coming through the window in their living room, the grumpy sods.

The laser is only on occasionally, because apparently there’s only one employee qualified to switch it on because it’s so long range laser, it qualifies as weapons grade.

If you check on your phone GPS it may be off by -00.00169 degrees. There are various explanations for this, such as they moved it in the Second World War to stop the observatory getting bombed.

But my favourite explanation is that the world isn’t a globe, it bulges in the middle.

Around the equator waistline, from all that spinning around.

But Google, to make the maths easier, treats it as a sphere.

Views from the hill lead down to the The Queens House.

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