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In a world that witnessed the emergence of automatic timeballs, telegraph time signals, the speaking clock, and the BBC’s six pips,” one family provided the hours and minutes to paying customers across London for more than 100 years using a pocketwatch named Arnold.” It was with Ruth Belville the last of the timesellers, who retired in her 80s in 1939 that this remarkable episode in the history of timekeeping and London life was brought to a close. Seeking to show that the Belvilles operated a service that was to many customers better than the official electric time signals from Greenwich, this chronicle turns the story of the Greenwich Time Service on its head, revealing for the first time the strengths of Ruth Belville and her family. In this fascinating true account, commercial propaganda, dirty tricks, and failing technologies come together in a story of the Greenwich Time Lady and her surefire will to succeed in Edwardian London.
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David Rooney is a historian of technology and a curator of timekeeping at the Royal Observatory.Review:
"This is an engrossing and eccentric slice of London history . . . it's constantly surprising, crisply written, beautifully detailed." —Jonathan Meades, British writer and broadcaster
"At a terse 192 pages, [this book] carries no dead weight. . . . Yet Rooney's prose is not skimpy or spare; rather, it breathes life into the characters and events that form this unusual story." —popmatters.com
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Book Description National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. New copy with dust jacket. 192 pages, illustrated, 2008. An interesting book telling the story of how the Belville family sold accurate time to their subscribers in central London from 1836 to 1940 using an 18th century pocket chronometer. With dust jacket. Seller Inventory # N1884
Book Description National Maritime Museum, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110948065974
Book Description National Maritime Museum, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0948065974