• Heather Newman

I'm Late, I'm Late!!!

On 2nd August 1880, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was officially adopted by the British Parliament as Britain's standard time. The reason that time was standardised was to eliminate confusion on the railways - nearly every public clock in Britain was already on GMT by 1850 for this reason.

Oxford is 5 minutes and 2 seconds behind Greenwich and so the city and virtually all the Oxford Colleges followed the trend and changed to GMT - however Christ Church, Oxford, refused and stayed on 'Oxford Time'. This meant that Christ Church students and staff had different time zones for different activities during the day - depending on whether they were within Christ Church or in another college (confusing or what!).

In 1865 - coincidentally on the 2nd August - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll; Dodgson was a mathematics don at Christ Church and wrote down the story for the Dean's (Henry Liddell's) daughter Alice. Dodgson took much of his inspiration from the people around him - including for the White Rabbit.

The White Rabbit is renowned for his poor timekeeping and is portrayed as running around saying "I'm late, I'm late!" Christ Church is unique for a college as the city's cathedral, which has the same name, is actually within the college - meaning that the Dean of the college is also the Dean of the cathedral. This means that Henry Liddell was often seen in his white vestment robes and because of the time difference there are many stories of him being seen scuttling about in these robes LATE for appointments - and the legend goes that this is where the inspiration for the perpetually late White Rabbit, with his pocket watch, comes from!

#oxford #cathedral #aliceinwonderland #uk #england #wanderlust #travel #history #lewiscarroll

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