Ruth Belville, the Lady who sold the Time

Ruth Belville, auch Greenwich Time Lady genannt, verkaufte im London Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts die Zeit. Das tat sie bis zum Ende des zweiten Weltkriegs. Jeden Morgen ging sie zum Greenwich Observatory und stellte ihre Uhr genau auf GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) und mit dieser Uhr ging sie in ganz London zu Abonnenten, die ihr die Zeit abkauften. Als Ihr Vater das Geschäft gegründet hatte, war die Zeit wertvoll, weil die Eisenbahn grade die Welt eroberte und die Fahrtzeiten auf eben der Greenwich Mean Time beruhten. Ihre Uhr hieß übrigens Arnold. Ah, Internet! Hier lernste nie aus, doh!

Ruth Belville sold time. Each day she would set her watch by the Greenwich clock in London and then charge a fee for the privilege of looking at her watch.

Belville’s father had established the business in 1836, when such knowledge was valuable — as railways revolutionized European travel, individual towns had to abandon their non-uniform local times, reckoned by the sun, and adopt instead the standard London time that dominated rail schedules.

For a confusing few years the nation underwent a sort of fugue, with public clocks displaying both London and local time; a few great clocks were even fitted with two minute hands. (In Dombey and Son Dickens notes these changes mournfully, “as if the sun itself had given in.”)

But by 1880 the British government had finally established a single standard time for the nation, and when Ruth Belville began selling time in 1892 she was already an anachronism. Remarkably, she continued until 1940, after the advent of World War II — by which time most of her clients were clockmakers.

The Greenwich Time Lady, hier ihre Wikipedia-Seite und es gibt ein Buch über sie, das ich mir grade geordert habe:

Amazon-Partnerlink: Ruth Belville: The Greenwich Time Lady