4. OUR PORTAL INTO THE PAST

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The History Maintenance Commission is frequently asked why the city of Bristol, England is used as the departure point into the past when our operations are based in New York City, USA. We are now at liberty to answer. Without giving away the unique, patented confidential process that enables us to offer time-travelling opportunities we can reveal that our portal into the past is based in that city, namely the clock at the Corn Exchange in Bristol. The clock is a unique timepiece as it’s the only one in the world publicly displaying a time from the past, for it has two second hands exhibiting the minutes past the hour, one has Greenwich Mean Time, the standardised time for the whole of the UK, the other, ten minutes behind, shows the long redundant Bristol time.

Prior to 1837 cities throughout Britain had their own time, however, the coming of the railways and regimented timetables meant the standardisation of time nationally was the best way forward to avoid confusion. Every city had to adopt London time. But many Bristolians took exception to losing their autonomy and set about the task of causing disruption in the hope of having Bristol Time, ten minutes behind GMT, restored. One tactic was for workers to deliberately turn up for work ten minutes late each day. Brad Holman of Old Market clocked in each morning fifty minutes late and was hailed a hero for doing the protesting of five men. He was also hailed a cab to take him home early after being dismissed by his employers.

Other protests included climbing up steeples and putting church clocks back to Bristol Time and also pinching the pocket-watches of city gents putting them back by ten minutes and then returning them to the pockets of their unsuspecting owners. This was bad news for Mr H. G. Ledbury of the Easton area of the city who had this done to him numerous times on his stroll to work one November morning in 1837. When he eventually checked his watch he almost died of shock because he discovered that he had not even been born yet!

Eventually, the protests died down, especially when the majority realised that following London Time meant they got their pay packets earlier. The only dissent thereafter came the way of the odd fellow who made a point of following 600 seconds to the rear of a bank security wagon, as in this manner they could be seen to be still ten minutes behind the capital.

That is the story of why a provincial English city is the departure point for our operations in offering you these unparalleled opportunities to meet historic figures or participate in meteoric events from our illustrious past.

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