|Thames Path (formerly within curtilage of Millennium Dome)|
|Distance (N) from Greenwich|
|OS map details||OS Explorer: 161 or 162|
|OS grid ref||TQ 38803.80135|
|WGS84 lat/long||51.503113, -0.001549|
|Type||Pavement (line) | Ground (line) | Wall (line)|
|19 Apr 2016||16 Mar 2016||25 Feb 2016||04 Feb 2016||08 Dec 2015||03 Oct 2015||05 Jun 2013||29 Sep 2011||10 Sep 2009||02 Mar 2008||29 May 2007||16 Oct 2005||19 Jun 2005||10 Apr 2005||15 Mar 2005||20 Oct 2004||27 Oct 2001||24 Jul 2000|
One reason the Millennium Dome was built in Greenwich is that the Meridian runs though the site. This presence of the Meridian was significant as at the International Meridian Conference held in Washington D.C. in 1884, it was not only agreed that the Greenwich Meridian should be come Prime Meridian of the World, it was also agreed that a Universal day should be adopted and that this should begin for all the world at the moment of midnight on the Greenwich meridian. The Millennium Dome was therefore ideally placed to play the lead role for the World in welcoming in the new Millennium. Some argued – most notably Tom Standage in The Daily Telegraph (on 9 September 1997) and in the link below, that in a forward-looking world, the WGS84 Meridian should be given precedence over the Airy and be the one that was marked. This however was not to be. The Millennium Experience Guide Book described the marking as follows:
The Prime Meridian of the world, from which all longitude is measured, cuts the north-western edge of the Dome site. Marked with red light, it slips into the River Thames and emerges to cross the wildlife jetty. The area around the Line is raised and separated by a strip of water from the rest of Meridian Quarter. This is a space from which to look out beyond the Dome and Greenwich to other places touched by the Line and to the perspectives, experiences and cultures of the people of the world. A large mirror on the Living Wall takes the Meridian Line southward into infinity. This is a photograph opportunity as we catch ourselves standing either side of the Line and across time zones. On the mirror is a map showing the eight countries which the Line crosses: the UK, France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana. Large granite disks on the ground either side of the Line are engraved with poems from each of the countries.’
As well as the Airy Meridian, three other Lines were marked – the Bradley Meridian, roughly 6 m to the west and still used by the British Ordnance survey, along with the rather spurious ‘Halley’ and ‘Flamsteed’ Meridians. The four Lines have the same spacing as the corresponding markings on the wall of the Meridian Building at the Observatory, but are mislocated slightly to the west. The date of 1725 on the ‘Halley’ line is the date on which his 8-foot mural quadrant was commissioned. The date of 1676 inscribed on the ‘Flamsteed’ Meridian is completely spurious and derives from a misleading graphic panel on display at the time at the Observatory. See also, the links (left) on: The Greenwich Meridian before the ATC and The Millennium.
The Dome was open for just one year, closing at the end of 2000. The Dome section of the Thames Path was opened on 18 September 2001 and the O2 arena on 23 June 2007. The Meridian Quarter now seems to be called Meridian Park. The section remaining within the O2 curtilage became increasingly dilapidated over the next decade and was occasionally used to host events such as Afrika! Afrika!. In 2013, work began on the site in preparation for the building of the present InterContinental Hotel. Although the mirror was destroyed when the wall on which it was mounted was demolished in early April 2013, the ground markings were protected and form an important part of the present landscaping. From 2013 until the end of 2015 the Meridian Quarter was covered by contractors offices and equipment. When the hotel opened its doors to its first paying guests on 19 December 2015, the new landscaping around the Meridian markings had still to be carried out. The five image sets from December 2015 to April 2016 show the progress of this work.