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Introduction by Mind Map: Introduction
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Introduction

This is a brief overview of the history of length measurement in the United Kingdom, outlining some of the more important and interesting aspects. Measurement has been important ever since man settled from his nomadic lifestyle and started using building materials; occupying land and trading with his neighbours. As society has become more technologically orientated much higher accuracies of measurement are required in an increasingly diverse set of fields, from micro-electronics to interplanetary ranging.  

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Body Parts

Initially this new system was rejected by the French people and it only became rigorously enforced from 1837 onwards: by 1870 it was being widely used in continental Europe.

One of the oldest units of length measurement used in the ancient world was the 'cubit' which was the length of the arm from the tip of the finger to the elbow. This could then be subdivided into shorter units like the foot, hand (which at 4 inches is still used today for expressing the height of horses) or finger, or added together to make longer units like the stride. The cubit could vary considerably due to the different sizes of people.

As early as the middle of the tenth century it is believed that the Saxon king Edgar kept a "yardstick" at Winchester as the official standard of measurement. A traditional tale tells the story of Henry I (1100-1135) who decreed that the yard should be "the distance from the tip of the King's nose to the end of his outstretched thumb".

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Today length measurement is used in every sphere of life to enable fair trading conditions and to develop new and improved products and processes that enhance our standard of living.

Length Measurement Today

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Assize of Measures

It was not until the reign of Richard the Lionheart that the standardisation of units of measurement was first documented. In the Assize of Measures in 1196 it was stated that "Throughout the realm there shall be the same yard of the same size and it should be of iron". The Magna Carta (1215) also attempted to standardise measurements throughout the kingdom, although it concentrated on measures of wine and beer!

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