[tz] St Andrews meridian in the 17th century

Peter Ilieve peter at aldie.co.uk
Sun Oct 5 14:48:42 UTC 2014

Now that we don’t have to think about a possible future Europe/Glasgow
zone (postings back in August) for several years at least, here’s a
bit of Scottish history to consider instead.

St Andrews, on the Fife coast in the east of Scotland, had a meridian
line set up some 200 years before Greenwich. Here’s a quote from
a press release from the University of St Andrews, who have just
created a memorial to mark this line:

"The 17th Century Scottish astronomer and scientific pioneer
James Gregory laid down a meridian line across the floor of his
lab at St Andrews University in 1673, almost 200 years before the
Greenwich Meridian was established and arbitrarily adopted as the
world’s official prime meridian.

"Now St Andrews has recognised Gregory’s remarkable body of work
with a permanent public memorial – a solid brass line which follows
exactly the line of his meridian and bisects the pavement in
South Street, St Andrews.”

This story was picked up by The Times and the BBC (and probably others
I haven’t seen). As well as the line on the lab floor there was
a sighting mark outside a window and a stone marker on a hill
2.4km away. This still exists and is marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

Some URLs:

The University of St Andrews press release:
BBC piece:
The Times piece (which is behind their paywall):
Map showing St Andrews and Gregory’s Pillar (marked with arrow):

		Peter Ilieve

More information about the tz mailing list