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The Time That Land Forgot

Corn Street Clock

 

The things Brunel did for Bristol are incredible, but did you know that he once even made it travel forward in time?


Before the Great Western Railway link between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington, which opened on 30 June 1841 after the completion of the Box Tunnel, there was little or no reason why a clock in the South West should tell the same time as that of one ticking in the capital. As a result, Bristol once had its very own time-zone.

There is a clock in St Nicholas Market, originally installed in 1822, which still tells the city’s long-forgotten time; approximately ten minutes behind London. The clock has two minute hands: a red one for London and a black one for locals.  

With the efficiency of travel afforded to people travelling on Brunel’s railways, and the need for standardised timetabling around the country, it became necessary for those at either end of the tracks to agree on a unified time.

Therefore, Bristol wound forward ten minutes to fit in with Greenwich Mean Time and it has stayed there ever since.