Point-Free Gates?

Photo: Stephen

Okay, they’re not an eyesore or anything – I’m indifferent to their design – but what are they for? Stephen spotted these new gates a week or so ago, and they had just been installed, but even the gallery assistants didn’t seem to know why.

I’d have thought crowd control – except surely you don’t really get surging masses of continental teenagers up there, hellbent on mayhem, do you? I mean – not the kind of hordes you’d need to justify heavy duty gates like this. I know Flamsteed House is a hotbed of excitement, but surely you don’t get enough punchups over who gets to straddle the Meridian Line first to make these worthwhile. They don’t join up so they’re not for keeping people out, and there’s plenty of space for a vehicle to get round so it can’t be to stop cars getting in.

Obviously I’m not outraged or anything, I’m just curious…


the attachments to this post:

Photo: Stephen
Royal Observatory Greenwich Gates


8 Comments to “Point-Free Gates?”

  1. JOF says:

    Maybe it’s like Admiralty Arch, which has three archways. Normal traffic uses the two outside arches but Her Maj gets to drive straight through the middle one. Ordinary punters at the Observatory go around the gates but, for special visitors, the gates are ceremonially opened with accompanying fanfares, fireworks, and the Astronomer Royal strewing rose petals in their path.

  2. Yes, I expect it’s exactly that. We will have to check the annual accounts for rose-petal expenditure…

    But who will be the bigwigs worthy of the Astronomer Royal’s rose-strewery now we no longer have Chris Roberts to adore?

  3. Scott says:

    From the angle that the photo was taken the gates seem to do a good job of blocking your view of the time line on the ground.

  4. Chris says:

    Can’t help you I’m afraid, but I love a good mystery!

  5. Alexander says:

    Maybe there’s more to come? Or they ran over-budget?

  6. Phil Moore says:

    Are these just behind the main wrought iron gates? It’s probably because service vehicles use the main gates for access and they ‘needed to’ physically segregate the busy pedestrian area beyond. Handy to prevent the inevitable diplomatic incident when a confused Royal Mail van driver overshoots the drop-off point and ploughs into 100 French school kids.

  7. RogerW says:

    I actually saw Chris Roberts the other day. He was crossing the road from the old Woolwich Town Hall (the really old one) towards Sainsbury’s. (unfortunately I’d already parked up)

  8. Stephen says:

    I asked again today about the barrier and an assistant said it was put in by the management to prevent people taking photos of the line from the outside. The assistant said it was rather petty.

    So it looks as if Scott was spot on with his comment.