13 October

Noon image

Greenwich Mean Time Was Established

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From this day in 1884, following a lengthy conference convened by the United States, noon in London’s Greenwich Observatory set the time zones for the rest of the world, and the thin line that runs through the building came to mark the division between east and west.

Until then, nations had been drawing maps with zero degrees longitude at different points, making mapping and navigation incredibly difficult. Different maps placed the dividing line between east and west in Jerusalem, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Pisa, Copenhagen, Philadelphia, Washington, the Canary Islands and more.

The day gives us a rather marvellous excuse to drink an aptly named Noon cocktail and also to remember the dying art of chart navigation.

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