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IN THE NEWS

Westfield Stratford City East
Westfield Stratford City East Retail Theme

TOUR OF THE MONTH

The Rolling Stones London Tour
The Rolling Stones London Tour

ON THIS DAY IN LONDON

29th March 1992 Princess Diana's father dies from a heart attack in a London hospital.

29th March 1979 Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine, premieres in London

29th March 1959 Born today: Marina Sirtis, London, actress (Troi-Star Trek: The Next Generation)

29th March 1871 the Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.go to related location

29th March 1869 Born today: Edwin Lutyens, architect, London

The Time Ball



The Time Ball

This is the quirky red Time Ball - confirming the time each day.

Location: Flamsteed House, Greenwich

Description: The distinctive bright red Time Ball on the spire on top of Flamsteed House is one of the world's earliest public time signals. It was first used to inform and indicate to ships on the Thames and many Londoners of the correct time without having to find a clock on shore.

It was first used in 1833, installed by Astronomer Royal John Pond, and still operates today.

It works like this: 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. Of course, if you were looking the wrong way, you had to wait until the next day before it happened again.

The Time Ball drops at 13.00 GMT during the winter months and 13.00 BST during the summer. Please note: the time ball will not be run if the weather is too windy.

What did people do before there was a time ball?
Only the richest people could afford to buy clocks and watches of their own. Most people relied public sundials to tell the time. This led to different local times across the country, with clocks on the eastern side of the country about 30 minutes ahead of those in the west.

The difficulties created by everyone using their own local time eventually led to the creation of Standard Time based on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich.


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The Time Ball

This is the quirky red Time Ball - confirming the time each day.


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