Spent a couple of days in London and enjoyed walking along North Bank and exploring Greenwich as well as Isle of Dogs. Greenwich is a World Heritage Site and home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Meridian Line. Other famous landmarks include the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, and Sir Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval College.
The fastest sailing ship of her day, the Cutty Sark was launched in Scotland in 1869 and sailed initially on the tea route to China. Later she brought back wool from Australia. She has been in dry dock in Greenwich since 1954. Cutty Sark has been undergoing a thorough conservation process for the last few years but she is now very close to completion. The ship should be open to the public at the end of April in time for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Walking around, this sticker caught my eye. It’s nice to know that dogs are a part of the community in some countries.
London’s oldest enclosed Royal Park, Greenwich Park is situated on a hilltop with impressive views of Greenwich and across the River Thames to Canary Wharf, The O2, the City of London and beyond. There has been a settlement on this site since Roman times, but Greenwich has always been strongly associated with royalty. Since the land was inherited by Henry V’s brother, generations of monarchs have taken this magnificient park to their hearts. The Park is also home to the Royal Observatory and the Meridian line.
At the time of its enclosure as a deer park in 1433, the Park’s 73 hectares (183 acres) were largely covered by common land with scrub oak, thorns, birch, gorse, broom and heath. Wildlife in Greenwich Park include the Red and fallow deer, waterfowl, starlings, sparrows, song thrushes, warblers, woodpeckers, treecreepers, tawny owls, and wild parrots.
Queen Caroline’s bath remains – This bath belonged to Caroline, estranged wife of King George IV, who lived at Montague House on the edge of Greenwich Park from 1798-13. She held notoriously boisterous parties and in the early years of the 19th century, rumours circulated that she had an illegitimate child. A royal commission cleared her of adultery but said her behaviour was open to “unfavourable interpretations”. She left England for Europe in 1814 and Montague House was demolished a year later.
Millennium Sundial – This sundial has a meridian line running through it. It is well known that the Greenwich Meridian does not register as 000,00,00.00 on a GPS device. The line through this one doesn’t either but… the line through this sundial is not even on the “other” meridian line. It is out too by a few metres. This was because of incorrect information during construction.
Founded as a scientific institution for navigational research by Charles II in 1675, the Observatory is the home of the world’s Prime Meridian – longitude 0° – and of Greenwich Mean Time. The clocks developed by John Harrison to determine longitude at sea are among the Observatory’s most treasured possessions. Next door is the Peter Harrison Planetarium, a state-of-the-art facility housed in a contemporary new building.
This is us standing on the meridian line. However, the line is off somewhat. We did take the coordinates for the maridian somewhere else in the park where our GPS indicated. Why? The international reference meridian (used by GPS and other systems) is 102.5 metres to the east of the line marked at Greenwich. The reference longitude line is defined by the Bureau International de l’Heure, which compiled star & quasar observations in different countries. The average of this data caused a shift east away from the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, UK. The BIH calculated this average sometime before 1984;
Our last stop in the park was for a bite at The Honest Sausage – Free range sausages and bacon in organic bread, organic fair trade tea and coffee with a large outside seating area. Absolutely satisfying after a long walk.
The Greenwich Foot Tunnel runs under the River Thames between Cutty Sark Gardens and Island Gardens, on the Isle of Dogs. It is 1,217 feet in length and approx 50 feet deep. Its original purpose was to allow south London residents to work in the docks on the Isle of Dogs. It was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and was opened on 4 August 1902 at a cost of £127,000. The tunnel is lined with 200,000 glazed white tiles. The circular entrance buildings are similar both sides of the river and contain a lift and a long spiral flight of stairs. It is open 24 hours a day, although the lifts do not always run the full time.
Although I didn’t have many photos in Isle of Dogs due to the low light (I was only armed with my point&shoot camera) , we had a nice time exploring the Docklands. And to end the day, we spent the evening having drinks by the waterways in Canary Wharf with Scott’s colleagues (my ex-colleagues). All-in-all a fantastic couple of days in Greenwich!