LocationEngland
LB Newham
Stratford (E15)
W side of: Meridian Square
Distance (N) from Greenwich
OS map detailsOS Explorer: 162
OS grid refTQ 38652.84427
(538652,184427)
WGS84 lat/long51.541717, -0.002035
TypePavement (line) | Pavement (plate)
Marking date2011
AccessUnrestricted
Greenwich Meridian Marker; England; LB Newham; Stratford (E15)
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South
South

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The building of the Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre and the Olympic Park necessitated changes to Meridian Square in order to accommodate the pedestrian access over the railway lines between the new buildings on the one side, and the existing transport hub in the square on the other. The Time Spiral was removed to make way for the new access steps from Meridian Square. A concept plan for a redesign of the Square was drawn up in March 2010 by Design for London – a small team within the Greater London Authority, who work on behalf of the Mayor of London (link below). Amongst its proposals were the building of ‘The Shoal’ – the vertical kinetic sculpture of naturally coloured titanium that now fronts the Stratford Centre, the ‘Meridian Sweep’ – the area of darker coloured paving that now links the station to the Stratford Centre, and the marking of the Meridian with a brass strip in the paving.

Located about 10 m to the east of the former Time Spiral the strip is made up of 36 sections and is accompanied by a cast plate set alongside it, which carries the words ‘Meridian Line 0º 0’ 0” E’. About 100 feet long in total, the strip is crossed by large numbers of people each day as they make their way to and from the Stratford Centre along the Meridian Sweep.

It is an unfortunate fact, but in real life, the Meridian doesn’t pass though the Square. Possibly by design, but more likely by coincidence, it runs almost exactly along the western edge of the Stratford Centre on the opposite side of the Great Eastern Road. The Line as marked is about 40 m west of the Airy Meridian, 35 m west of the Bradley Meridian, and 145 m west of the WGS84 Meridian. Worse, it appears to be skewed about 1½º in a clockwise direction. Given the not inconsiderable sums spent on laying the surrounding paving, it has to rate on a par with the sundial in Greenwich Park in terms of monumental Meridian cock-ups.

So how did the marking end up in the wrong place? Perhaps the designers knew the Meridian didn’t pass through the square, but choose to mark it symbolically. This seems unlikely as the published planning document for The Stratford Town Centre Public Realm Project contains a sentence, which although complete gobbledygook, does at least set the record straight on this matter. It states:

‘The Meridian Line runs through Meridian Square, unlike other spaces which sing about this coincidence here the line acknowledged simply with a brass strip in the paving – noting the presence of the meridian but not basing the entire square on an invisible generator.’

The truth about the incorrect siting is to be gleaned perhaps from the plans contained within the document. One such – but only one – is annotated ‘Meridian Line (indicative location)’. The Line has all the appearance of having been set out in accordance with an indicative plan without anyone having done a proper check on its true position.


Design for London
The Stratford Town Centre Public Realm Project Part 1
The Stratford Town Centre Public Realm Project Part 2
The Stratford Town Centre Public Realm Project Part 3
The Stratford Town Centre Public Realm Project Part 4
Sundial in Greenwich Park