The Quiet Meridian

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha about the Meridian recently (its 125th anniversary was last year). And if you go to the Observatory on any day of the year you’ll find hoards of tourists queuing up to straddle the shiny line representing the imaginary delineation between East and West so their mates can take a picture of them.

I have never seen anyone having their photo taken straddling this part of the Meridian line, yet in many ways it’s just as charming as the ‘big one’ and with some really curious stuff to be had in the background…

I don’t recall these little plaque/paving/stud markings being created; I’m guessing the millennium – but so much was happening that year, it’s impossible to remember everything. Like much that’s in Park Vista, not least the Plume of Feathers (or the ‘Plumbe’ of Feathers as described in the temporary road sign during the Trafalgar Road works) it’s ‘our’ little corner, protected from the bulk of tourists.

While you’re there, don’t miss the only Tudor building above ground in Greenwich, now part of the vicarage – the wall was specially cut-out by a Victorian vicar so that people could see the plaque on the old conduit head. It’s worth seeking out the other plaques and decorations in Park Vista for a bit of fun on the way to the Plume for your Sunday lunch…


22 Comments to “The Quiet Meridian”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Am I being thick or is there no link on your blog through which to write to you without commenting on a post. I guess that calling yourself a phantom does give you the right to a certain amount of anonymity.
    Not so for Greenwich.co.uk which I first linked to from one of your posts. They purport to be a newspaper but do not appear to admit any form of ownership/editorial (apart from Mr Gilligan of course). like your blog there is no obvious contact mechanism apart from commenting on a particular item. Even worse any comment, if you happen to have a WordPress avatar from elsewhere it is automatically attached to your comment. Generally bad form. But no obvious way to complain.
    If you know how to contact them off blog please do us all a favour and print it.

  2. Mary says:

    oh – the Meridian. In the last couple of weeks I have had someone on to me for pictures (from my vast archive of old gas works stuff) of the sign that used to stand on the tip of the Peninsula marking where it went. They are doing a book of pictures of 'Meridian Marks'.
    and also – it used to be marked on the riverside where it crosses the power station – I have been making a, minor I'm afraid, fuss about that.
    oh – and I was once asked by an American if it was difficult living near a 24 hour change of time zone.

  3. Lizzie says:

    Dear Anonymous, you can use "Ask the Phantom" on TGP's blog page to contact/ask q's.

    And from the looks of things under the drop down menu from the "News" banner there IS a means of getting in touch with Greenwich.co.uk without actually posting a comment…

  4. Benedict says:

    Mary, haha, It tickles me to think of a 24hr time difference, crikey all the tricks and larks one could get up to popping from one day to another….

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yet another quirky place of interest that I had no idea existed! Since I discovered your blog a couple of months ago I've acquired such a long list of sights to see in & around Greenwich that I think I'm going to have to dedicate an entire day to Phantom-inspired sightseeing. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions – keep them coming!

  6. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous: Go to 'News' > 'Submit a News Story', and you find an email address. It says: 'You can send an email to news@greenwich.co.uk or use the contact form below to get in touch.'

  7. darryl says:

    I'm sure there used to be studs in Trafalgar Road; it'd be nice to have those back.

  8. Jim says:

    Oddly enough, I saw two people outside the vicarage, taking a photo on the meridian line, just last week. First time I've seen that in about 10 years of walking past that spot.

  9. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    Hey Anon- of course there's a way to link to me – ask the Phantom on the sidebar will send an email direct to me.

    I'm not a newspaper – just a personal blog…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Those studs have been there since long before Y2K. The other Meridian 'lines' I know of are on here:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=
    117332960729937112541.00048166739602eb5e0f9

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hidden contacts

    Re my complaint above by contacting Greenwich.co.uk. Full details are provided if you double-click on the 'about' tab across the top. However, this is not obvious if you just hover your mouse over it which just highlights four subsidiary pages. Clearly it is not just me being thick as at least two other people who have responded above also did not see it. So apologies to them but I don't think the contact mechanism is obvious.

    Re the Phantom's comment; the 'Ask the Phantom' link doesn't appear for me. If I use IE or Opera rather than Firefox it does however. And I didn't say that the Phantom was a newspaper. Interestingly, Greenwich.co.uk says it isn't a newspaper either.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It seems that full contact details for Greenwich.co.uk are available if you double-click on the 'about' tab across the top. However, if you just hover your mouse over it only the four subsidiary pages are highlighted so you think this is not information about Greenwich.co.uk. So apologies to them but judging from some of the comments above I am not the only one to miss the trick.

    In response to the Phantom's point; 'Ask the Phantom' does not appear in my sidebar. But if I use IE or Opera it does. And I didn't say that the Greenwich Phantom is a newspaper – something that Greenwich.co.uk also denies apparently.

  13. east greenwich left says:

    Hello. I left Greenwich in 1999 (in the nick of time!) but remember this well. I always thought the cut out in the wall of the building (never realised it was a vicarage!) gave it a nautical feel! Does anyone know if that was the intent? Am I imagining or are there round windows as well? With the white paint it always looked slightly modernistic! I must get back for a visit some day! (and Mary Mills you are a star!)

  14. Badger says:

    The 'anonymous' who is so desperate to get in contact sounds very hot under the collar !!

    Can't wait to find out what's bugging him/her !!

  15. Anonymous says:

    For "E. Gre left": the story I was always told was that it was definitely to show off the coat of arms, and, pace the Phant, that it was done in the 1950s. No nautical connection. (Last bit of the palace still standing, and roughly where Edward VI spent his final days.) Did you hear about the curate (1960s) who complained about the damp on the wall inside and tried to hack it off? Or is that a Greenwich urban myth?

  16. Anonymous says:

    don't bother contact greenwich.co.uk – i've tried on at least two occasions and they didn't bother to respond.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I thought the studs and stuff mostly went in to celebrate the centenary of the Meridian?

  18. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    I'm curious to know why the contact link doesn't appear in the Phantom sidebar – I've tested it in most of the major browsers, and it always seems to come up.

    The funny little dip in the wall dates back at least to Victorian times, as the Rev. LeStrange talks about it in his book.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Phant, and hurrah for L'Estrange! Probably Greenwich people particularly good at urban myths.

    Anon 11.17

  20. Anonymous says:

    At the risk of being an anorak, the Meridian's in the wrong place.

    Maritime sorts will notice on their WGS84 standard charts that 0-00-00 lies about 105 metres to the East of the line marked on the ground in Greenwich. GPS users will be surprised to get the zero reading on their gadgets more than 300' away, but the experts tell me it's because the earth is shaped like a banana. Or something.

  21. Audiotechnews says:

    I'm not really convinced that Greenwich.co.uk are hard to contact. If you click one of the main tabs (About) then it tells you ABOUT the online publication (which isn't a newspaper because it's not made of paper). The details include an email address, a phone number and a street address.

    It's not a difficult site to navigate. It seems to me you're looking for something to complain about.

    As far as replying to emails goes, I suppose it all depends on whether it's worth replying to. Considering it's a free publication, I don't see why you can demand a personal response from a site attracting quite a lot of visitors every single day.

    Blogs are great for voicing an opinion in a public arena though, and if your point is worthy of discussion, then maybe people will reply.

    Cheers

    Chris
    http://www.mindlesscreative.com

  22. Anonymous says:

    I just tried in IE, Firefox and Chrome and the Ask the Phantom link is there in all of them.