Notes on The Calendar

Nearer home in England, the Earth rotates through 360 degrees in 24 hours, or one degree every four minutes. Bath is about 2 degrees 20 minutes due West of London, so solar time in Bath is about nine minutes behind that in London. Until the eighteenth century travel even between two villages a few kilometres apart was so unreliable that it did not matter that they did not keep the same time. But the introduction of stage coaches, attempting to run scheduled services between London and Bath, changed this. These coaches were fitted with special carriage clocks, which could be set to lose time when travelling from London to Bath and gain time when travelling from Bath to London. After the stage coaches came the canals and then the railways, which opened up far more towns and villages to scheduled transport services than the stage coaches could ever have done. The railways needed a single country-wide time. In 1852 the Royal Observatory Greenwich set up an electric clock to send synchronised time signals down telegraph lines. All railway stations had clocks and these all showed Greenwich time (Reference 14).

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