[LEAPSECS] Historican timezones (Was: Re: Looking-glass, through)

Ian Batten igb at batten.eu.org
Fri Jan 14 08:01:27 EST 2011

On 14 Jan 11, at 1147, Clive D.W. Feather wrote:

> Paul Sheer said:

>> The Olson time library has all historican timezone information.


> No, it has some historical timezone information.

Exeter, Bristol and Oxford, to name but three, had clocks with multiple minute hands to display "railway time" and the historic (presumably agreeing with sundials) "local time". Exeter was 14 minutes behind railway (ie London) time, which makes rough sense given it's 3 degrees 30 minutes west of London. Bristol (2degrees30) was ten minutes behind, which again makes sense. I think Birmingham (2W) was 8 minutes behind. None of this is in the Olsen file.

I suspect the problem with the adoption of railway time was that it was GMT, and GMT is very much an eastern England thing. There are some cities, mostly in the south (including Clive-land) east of the zero meridian, but by 2E you're swimming for dear life in the water off Lowestoft, and I think I'm right in saying that 2E doesn't pass through any UK land (it runs substantially east of the Shetlands, for example). By contrast, the GWR rapidly reached western Cornwall, parts of which lie west of 5W (which passes just east of Newquay). Penzance is 5 degrees 30 west, so adopting railway time there involved the mornings getting half an hour darker, which I can't imagine was popular.


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