diamond geezer

 Sunday, October 17, 2004

Marking the meridian: Newham

The meridian now follows the Lea Valley, which means a mile and a half of inaccessible industrial warehouse-y marshland kind of stuff. Including the following...

xix) The original Big Brother House: OK, if I'm honest the meridian doesn't quite pass through the site of Nasty Nick's series 1 downfall, but the zero degree line does pass through the Bow field in which they built the house and within 100 metres of the original Diary Room. I've written about this now-empty field before of course - try here.
xx) Abbey Mills Pumping Station: It's probably inadvisable to cut straight through the middle of East London's Sewage Cathedral... unless you're an imaginary line of longitude, that is. I've written about this place before too - try here.
xxi) See also: Cody Road Industrial Estate, the District Line (between Bromley-by-Bow and West Ham), Bow Back Rivers, the Northern Outfall Sewer (now the Greenway), the Gala Bingo Hall on Stratford High Street, the Jubilee Line (by the footbridge just south of Stratford station), the car park round the back of Bridge House (home to Newham Council's Housing Department) and Stratford Box (contract 230 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link).

Stratford
xxii) This is Time Spiral, a six metre high twisty-turny clock erected in the pedestrian forecourt of Stratford station to mark the meridian. According to the artist, Malcolm Robertson, this is a piece wherein "curved walls sweep in towards a central point from all directions and amalgamate to form a unified spiral structure that acts as a beacon to continuously draw the spectator's attention upwards and outwards. The beacons draw their energy from the surrounding area and combine forces to produce a strong visual landmark of dynamic unity." If this is indeed the case, and somehow I doubt it, then the people of Stratford don't seem to have noticed.

xxiii) The people of Stratford haven't noticed the meridian either, despite the local council naming the large public plaza outside the station Meridian Square. They don't realise when they're lurking around the public conveniences at the southern end of the bus station that the meridian passes immediately through the cubicles. They don't realise when they draw up beside the 108 bus stop in their Ford Focus to drop their mates off that they're parking precisely on the meridian as well as illegally on a red route. They don't realise when they use the pelican on the ring road to cross from the bus station to the nasty cheap shopping centre opposite that they're actually crossing from the western to the eastern hemisphere. And they don't realise when they're standing at the eastern end of platform 10 waiting to escape Stratford by train that there's one additional line here that's invisible to the naked eye. People of Stratford, your knowledge is less than zero.


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