History of Greenwich Mean Time

Greenwich mean time or GMT is the mean solar time or the clock time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. The time there remains the same all year round and it is not affected by Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time changes. GMT is often used by English speakers as a synonym for Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. The Greenwich mean time marks the point of every time zone in the time zone map.

Astronomers often consider that a GMT day starts at noon but for almost everyone, a GMT day starts at midnight. That’s why to in order to avoid confusion, the Universal Time was created to denote GMT as counted from midnight. But astronomers still prefer to use the old convention to simplify their observational data and that each night will be logged into a single calendar date. But how did the Greenwich mean time started?

Greenwich Mean Time History

Greenwich mean time started when the United Kingdom started to grew into a maritime nation that is why British mariners kept at least one clock on GMT for them to be able to calculate their longitude from the Greenwich meridian. This is because the Greenwich meridian has longitude zero degrees which were adopted in the International Meridian Conference of 1884. However, the synchronization of their clocks on GMT did not affect shipboard time. And while most of the clocks in Britain was set to Greenwich mean time, it was not made into law until 25 years later.

Following a single time zone setting baseline for the rest of the world was first proposed in 1876 by inventor and engineer Sanford Fleming when he called for a 24-hour clock. This was not immediately put into action but Fleming still continued to agitate in this direction and the theory of a universal day beginning at Greenwich midnight was eventually agreed upon by the International Meridian Conference. But they said that it was not to interfere with local or standard time where appropriate.

In the 1930s, most countries adopted hourly time zones but in some cases, these varied within regions because of politics, distance, and geography. And this remains the case until today because several countries carry different time zones between states such as India, Iran, Burma, parts of Australia, and Afghanistan. But some countries like China use a single time zone despite spanning more than 15 degrees longitude.

In the United Kingdom, Tory MPs have been suggesting to Scotland to have a different time zone from England so that they could use more of daylight in the south of the border. The proposal was agreed upon by road safety experts and farmers but it was strongly opposed by Scotland itself.

In a recent survey done in the United Kingdom regarding the time zone in Scotland, it showed that 54 percent of the people are in favor of the move to central European time while 59 percent were in support in southern England but only 40 percent in Scotland.