Greenwich clock with standard measurements
Standard time zones of the world (February 2021). The number at the bottom of each zone specifies the number of hours to add to UTC to convert it to the local time.
Clock in Kumasi, Ghana, set to GMT.
An 1853 "Universal Dial Plate" showing the relative times of "all nations" before the adoption of universal time

Starting in 1847, Britain established Greenwich Mean Time, the mean solar time on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, England, to solve this problem: all clocks in Britain were set to this time regardless of local solar noon.

- Universal Time

For navigation, it is considered equivalent to UT1 (the modern form of mean solar time at 0° longitude); but this meaning can differ from UTC by up to 0.9s.

- Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich clock with standard measurements

4 related topics

Alpha

World map of current time zones

Coordinated Universal Time

Primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time.

Primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time.

World map of current time zones
Graph showing the difference DUT1 between UT1 and UTC (in seconds). Vertical segments correspond to leap seconds.

It is within about 1 second of mean solar time at 0° longitude (at the IERS Reference Meridian as the currently used prime meridian) such as UT1 and is not adjusted for daylight saving time.

It is effectively a successor to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The vertical red line left of the middle is the Greenwich meridian.

International Meridian Conference

Conference held in October 1884 in Washington, D.C., in the United States, to determine a prime meridian for international use.

Conference held in October 1884 in Washington, D.C., in the United States, to determine a prime meridian for international use.

The vertical red line left of the middle is the Greenwich meridian.
Local times in major towns across the United States, as published in 1857 when, as the document states, 'There is no "Standard Railroad Time" in the United States or Canada'.

In Britain, the Great Western Railway had standardised time by 1840 and in 1847 the Railway Clearing Union decreed that "GMT be adopted at all stations as soon as the General Post Office permitted it".

This envisaged clocks showing 24-hour universal time with an extra dial having a local time rounded to the nearest hour.

Flamsteed House in 1824

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park in south east London, overlooking the River Thames to the north.

Observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park in south east London, overlooking the River Thames to the north.

Flamsteed House in 1824
Royal Observatory, Greenwich c. 1902 as depicted on a postcard
Greenwich Observatory (Latinized as "Observatorium Anglicanum Hoc Grenovici prope Londinum"), as illustrated in Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr's map of the southern celestial hemisphere, ca. 1730
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Dome of the Greenwich 28 inch refractor telescope and tree
The Airy Transit Circle, used for over a century (1851–1953) as the reference point when charting the heavens and determining times, thus earning for it the epithet "the centre of time and space"
The building housing the origin of the Greenwich Prime Meridian
Laser projected from the observatory marking the Prime Meridian line
Laser at night
Shepherd Gate Clock at Royal Greenwich Observatory
One of the hyper-accurate timekeepers at the observatory
The time ball is the red ball on a post – when it drops a certain time is signalled. This allowed clocks to be set from afar with great accuracy, particularly the chronometers of ships on the River Thames below, prior to sailing. The observatory would first determine the time by stellar observations.
Dome of the Great Equatorial Building overlooking Greenwich Park
21st-century view of the Altazimuth Pavilion
Standard lengths on the wall of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London – 1 yard (3 feet), 2 feet, 1 foot, 6 inches (1/2-foot), and 3 inches. The separation of the inside faces of the marks is exact at an ambient temperature of 60 °F and a rod of the correct measure, resting on the pins, will fit snugly between them.
Aerial view of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux site in East Sussex; the dome that formerly housed the Isaac Newton Telescope is the single dome to the right. The telescope was moved to La Palma in the Canary Isles in 1979.
Former Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux, East Sussex
Greenwich House at Cambridge
The Queen's House (centre left) at Greenwich, with the Royal Observatory on the skyline behind, in 2017.
The Magnetic Pavilion, 1900
Tourists flock to the Observatory museum, 2009
The centuries-old Flamsteed House overlooking Greenwich Park in London. The statue at left is of Major General James Wolfe, who died capturing Quebec in 1759, and was buried in St Alfege Church, Greenwich.

It played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and because the Prime Meridian passes through it, it gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time, the precursor to today's Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

International time from the end of the 19th century until UT1 was based on Simon Newcomb's equations, giving a mean sun about 0.18 seconds behind UT1 (the equivalent of 2.7 arcseconds) as of 2013; it coincided in 2013 with a meridian halfway between Airy's circle and the IERS origin: 51.47781°N, -0.00072°W.

Old Royal Naval College and University of Greenwich buildings on the bank of the River Thames

Greenwich

Town in southeast London, located in the historic county of Kent and the ceremonial county of Greater London.

Town in southeast London, located in the historic county of Kent and the ceremonial county of Greater London.

Old Royal Naval College and University of Greenwich buildings on the bank of the River Thames
Prehistoric burial mounds in Greenwich Park
Adriaen van Stalbemt's A View of Greenwich, c. 1632, showing King Charles I (in the black hat) and his family. Royal Collection, London.
In the 1880s, if this place is so cut into three: east, central and west zones of about 30,000 inhabitants each, the central one had less than 10% recognisable poverty, the minimum of London's map above, but the others (east and west) more than 40%.
The former Greenwich Town Hall, now known as "Meridian House"
A map showing the wards of Greenwich Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.
Boats at Greenwich at the end of the Great River Race
The Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer moored on the riverfront at Greenwich in 2015
Trinity Hospital, Greenwich
Spiral staircase and lantern at the Queen's House in Greenwich
Town centre
Greenwich Market
Millennium Leisure Park
Royal Observatory with the time ball atop the Octagon Room
Pepys Building
Greenwich station

Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.

It is also used to refer to Universal Time (UT), which is a standard astronomical concept used in many technical fields and is often referred to by the military in the phrase Zulu time.