Why Edinburgh's Clock is Almost Never on Time

Arrive in Edinburgh on any given day and there are certain things you can guarantee. One of which is, the time on the turret clock atop The Balmoral Hotel is always wrong. By three minutes, to be exact. From a report: While the clock tower’s story is legendary in Edinburgh, it remains a riddle for many first-timers. To the untrained eye, the 58m-high landmark is simply part of the grand finale when surveyed from Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s go-to city-centre viewpoint. There it sits to the left of the Dugald Stewart Monument, like a giant exclamation mark above the glazed roof of Waverley Train Station. Likewise, the sandstone baronial tower looks equally glorious when eyed from the commanding northern ramparts of Edinburgh Castle while peering out over the battlements. It is placed at the city’s very centre of gravity, between the Old Town and the New Town, at the confluence of all business and life. Except, of course, that the dial’s big hand and little hand are out of sync with Greenwich Mean Time. This bold irregularity is, in fact, a historical quirk first introduced in 1902 when the Edwardian-era building opened as the North British Station Hotel. Then, as now, it overlooked the platforms and signal boxes of Waverley Train Station, and just as porters in red jackets met guests off the train, whisking them from the station booking hall to the interconnected reception desk in the hotel’s basement, the North British Railway Company owners wanted to make sure their passengers — and Edinburgh’s hurrying public — wouldn’t miss their trains. Given an extra three minutes, they reasoned, these travellers would have more time on the clock to collect their tickets, to reach their corridor carriages and to unload their luggage before the stationmaster’s whistle blew. Still today, it is a calculated miscalculation that helps keep the city on time.

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Source: Slashdot – Why Edinburgh’s Clock is Almost Never on Time

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