Map of the week – World adopts Greenwich Mean Time

Greenwich meridian chosen as the official prime meridian.

From the 17th century onwards Greenwich, home to the national observatory, had been the centre for the study of time as well as the skies, the link being the need for accurate timekeeping for navigation. Accordingly, a meridian at the Greenwich Observatory(originally the site of Greenwich Castle, constructed by the Duke of Gloucester, in 1433) was set, by the British, as the zero point of reference for determining time and longitude.

Greenwich Mean Time was first adopted across the island of Great Britain by the Railway Clearing House in 1847 to standardise train timetables, and by almost all railway companies by the following year. By the end of 1880 GMT had been legally adopted throughout the island of Great Britain.

In 1884 the US Government called a conference to determine a standard for world time keeping. After deliberation the Washington conference decided on the meridian at Greenwich as the reference point. Forty-one delegates from 25 nations met and by the end of the conference, Greenwich had won the prize of Longitude 0º by a vote of 22 in favour to 1 against (San Domingo), with two abstentions (France and Brazil).
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Whatever your interest in the past our historical maps are invaluable works of reference. Ideal for reasearch, or print and frame for a personalised decorative map centred on the location of your choice.

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