Marking the prime meridian of the world in Greenwich

There was a time when the meridian line was neglected in Greenwich Park. This changed for the 2000 millennium celebrations and snow brings out the best in the markers. The green laser beam glistens when it snows and the sculptor who represented Queen Victoria (I assume) as a snow queen deserves a prize. I like low impact and temporary public art.

“My name is Ozymandium, queen of queens:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

The most popular, permanent, meridian marker is 2.5 meters below the above pics. People like to be photographed with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one foot in the western hemisphere – but it is a terrible place for taking photographs: narrow, north-facing and ugly. I’d like to see a design for a Photographer’s Balcony so that people could photograph one another gazing, with the green laser, towards the North Pole. The Chinese are very keen on photographing each other in memorable locations and a really well designed facility would probably double the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK, if not Europe.

6 thoughts on “Marking the prime meridian of the world in Greenwich

  1. Tom Turner Post author

    Re Borehamwood, it’s bearable.
    Re the laser beam, the University of Greenwich sponsored a Millennium Tree Line Project. The idea was to have a fragmentary line of trees encircling the globe. It was hardly a visual spectacle. But what if there were to be a sequence of green lasers shooting up around the meridian? Radio signals could go from the same generators. A waste of energy, perhaps, but what if it created a signal which could be picked up by extra-terrestials? Hm: I should have stayed in bed a bit longer this morning!

  2. leo

    Haven’t had the pleasure of visited the much talked about Borehamwood I’m afraid.

    However I did have the pleasure of viewing the GREENwich laserbeam for the first time last week. Immediate reaction was one of wonder, it was fantastic in fact, felt rather romantic actually!

    From that experience and the fact that also this week it added to conversation (viewed positively I think, though may have to ask the others with me)I think it is a great thing. Noisy, not at the moment, though yes the novelty will wear off if it is replicated though only if it is viewed in the same sky space in my opinion. I’m sure those trustworthy planners won’t allow too many through our strict planning measures though so not to worry (?!)

  3. Christine

    It is interesting that the same quantitative beam of green light is viewed very differently depending on context![ ]

    The Millenium Tree-line project was certainly an ambitious idea requiring considerable global co-operation. Perhaps it could be viewed as a long term project for Greenwich University rather than a short term one?

    It seems we have been giving the extra-terrestials quite a bit to look at recently!
    [ ] And if Richard Branston’s space tourism venture [ ] develops further perhaps it will be eager space traveller’s gazing back to earth with their binoculars? [ ]

  4. Tom Turner Post author

    Obviously, there is a need for a new name for the new art. Ism would be my first choice but Skyart is more inspirational- and I like the idea of befrieding extra-terrestials, so maybe ETart?

  5. Tom Turner Post author

    To get the most out of a visit to the Greenwich Green Laser, you should go at dusk on a snowy day. If you can’t time it for the snow, at least be sure to go at dusk for a romantic experience with sky, light and the planets.


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