"Greenwich - Royal Observatory" London Off The Beaten Path Tip by CADspark

London Off The Beaten Path: 1,701 reviews and 3,049 photos

  Greenwich Royal Observatory
by CADspark

The Greenwich Royal Observatory was founded by order of King Charles II to study astronomy and to fix longitude; see the page about the Prime Meridian. The oldest in the group of buildings comprising the observatory is Flamsteed House. It was built in 1675, with Sir Christopher Wren as the architect. It was built as a home for the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. He lived in the four rooms of the ground floor, and worked in the Octagon room above until his death in 1719. His successor in the office was Edmund Halley, famous for the comet that bears his name. Later Astronomers Royal lived there until 1948. The time ball on the roof was first erected in 1833, providing the first public time signal. At five minutes to one p.m. G.M.T. every day the ball rises half-way up the pole, reaching the top at two minutes to one. The ball drops at exactly one o'clock. Since the ball can be clearly seen from the river, ships have used the signal to check their time.

Tip : London's Tube system does not extend to Greenwich. The best way to get here is via River Boats which depart from Westminster Pier or via the Docklands Light Railway which is easily accessed at Tower Gateway (adjacent to Tower Bridge / Tower of London / St Katherines Dock)

Whilst visiting the Royal Observatory be sure to take in other local attractions such as The Cutty Sark - National Maritime Museum and browsing the shops and markets of Greenwich itself ..... all within easy walking distance.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 30, 2004
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