In the late 19th century, there was an Englishwoman who was in the business of selling time. Ruth Belville would leave her home in Maidenhead and make her way over to London and then to Greenwich. There, she would walk up the steep hill to the Royal Observatory, where she would get the time. Then, she would make her way back down the hill and make her way over to the businesses in London that needed to know the time. Ruth Belville was called ‘the Greenwich Time Lady.’

Knowing the exact time was important for various businesses like newspapers, train stations, and navigators for ships. Ruth also had clients that were factories and wealthy people who loved having the precise time.

A time distribution business would not be a lucrative business today, but in Ruth’s day society was living more and more by the clock, which is why her business was so important. You can find out more about Ruth and other unusual characters in The Alchemy of Us.


The Alchemy of Us Book jacket

A new and exciting book from Ainissa Ramirez the maker of Science Underground!