Wednesday, 15 August 2007

GREENWICH - Wednesday, August 1

AND THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY photo credit mr. mike

Standing on the Prime Meridian...

An actor relates the story of the Royal Observatory. If you're from Baton Rouge, notice that the actor looks like Leo Honeycutt, newscaster.

Royal Observatory

The National Maritime Museum

A day in Greenwich --another beautiful day....

Present day Greenwich is actually the London Borough of Greenwich which was formed in 1965 from the boroughs of Greenwich and Woolwich. It is home to the Royal Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, and numerous other sites of history, science, and grandeur. But standing on the Prime Meridian must be the coolest thing!

However, the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, and the Queens' House (which is actually a part of the Musuem) were also great visits.

Reading Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobol enhanced this day and stayed with me. Recognizing that the development of the equipment to be able to measure longitude was a basis for the British developing their Royal Navy which allowed them to dominate the seas and grow their empire, including our colonies. Of course, it changed the world enormously in other ways also, but this really clicked for me.

It was a great reminder to me of how one event/development can make a difference and how we never know what the results may be. It is a perfect example of adage about dropping a pebble and not knowing where the ripples may go.

I hope to soon read The Longitude Prize, a young adult book about the same subject.

The National Maritime Museum, of course, is THE place to find information on anything maritime-related. It contains 4.5 miles of manuscripts, with the earliest being from 1322.

A number of items were brought out for us to view. These included original photographs taken by survivors of the Titanic from the Carpathian and a dinner menu from the Titanic.

It was also memorable to hold a ship log of John Newton's, who wrote Amazing Grace, when he was a slave trader.

This year, the National Maritime Museum is commemorating the 1807 Act for the Abolution of Slave Trade.

The National Maritime Museum also has offsite storage and is funded by the government.

It was fun, but not surprising, to hear that acadamecians are quiet in their research, while family historians like to talk.

The Royal Observatory's 28-inch refracting telescope, the seventh largest in the world, also stands out in my mind. It was completed in 1893. The lens itself weighs 200 pounds and the tube is over 28 foot long.

The Queen's House, which was again, not surprisingly, the house for a queen in the 1600's, was later a school for orphans of children of sailors, houses an enormous collection of art. It includes portraiture work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which I especially enjoyed viewing, since one of my favorite people is Joshua McReynolds, teen council member. I am sure there must be a connection!

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