Friday, 27 March 2009

Remember, the Clocks go Forward Sunday at 1.00am!

On Sunday 29 March 2009 at 1.00am, Greenwich Mean Time ends and British Summer Time begins. So you need to move your clock forward one hour to 2.00 am.

Well it's now over 100 years since British Summer Time was first proposed. Why you might ask.
Well the idea of British Summer Time (BST), sometimes known as Daylight Saving Time, was first proposed by a keen horse-rider, William Willett, who was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer. Though the sun had been up for hours during his rides through the local woods in Chislehurst and Petts Wood, people were still asleep in bed.

In 1907 he published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, outlining plans to encourage people out of bed earlier in summer by changing the time on the nation’s clocks. He spent the rest of his life fighting to get acceptance of his time-shifting scheme. He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back BST.

Britain first adopted William Willett's Daylight Saving Time scheme in 1916, a few weeks after Germany. For years, the British Government had refused to introduce Daylight Saving Time, but by then, Britain and Germany were fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and any system that could save fuel and money was worth trying. The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21 May 1916, was widely reported in the press.

Within a few years of its introduction, most countries reasonably north or south of the equator had adopted Daylight Saving Time. But it has been controversial since the day William Willett first proposed it back in 1907, following his rural rides through Petts Wood.

Permanent summer, 1968–1971
In 1968, the clocks went forward as usual in March, but in the autumn, they did not return to Greenwich Mean Time. Britain had entered a three-year experiment, confusingly called British Standard Time, and stayed one hour ahead of Greenwich until 1971.

This was not the first experiment to shift the clocks in winter. In the Second World War (1939-45), Britain had adopted Double British Summer Time, with the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich in winter and two hours ahead in summer.

When the British Standard Time experiment ended, the Home Office carried out an exhaustive review to find out whether it had been successful. The answer was both yes and no. There were ‘pros and cons’ to having the clocks forward and, on balance, the Government decided to return to the original British Summer Time.

After a century of daylight saving, we still cannot agree on whether it is a good thing or not. When proposals to extend the system are occasionally made in Parliament, protest soon comes from those affected by its disadvantages. Daylight Saving Time tries to treat a complex network of symptoms with one solution. But not everybody sees it as a cure. So the debate continues.

Extract from the National Maritime Museum, Greeenwich website


  1. wait a minute, the clocks go forward!! Ours went forward a few weeks ago!

  2. I like daylight savings time. It stays light later in the evening. We had our change already.

  3. I got so confused when I first read this then I remembered where we're both from!!!! LOL

  4. I loved reading this post, it always interested me as to why the time change and the times picked to change the clocks. We change our clocks at 2:00 am. instead of 1:00 am.

  5. I'm a confirmed supporter of Daylight Savings Time (as we call it here in the states). I love the extra hours of daylight that summer brings. Jim and I spend lots of evening hours on our sun porch enjoying the evening.'

    Hope your weekend is splendid.

    ~hippo hugs~

  6. Gday Winifred, I like daylight savings.. Our clocks go back on the 5th april after 6 months of daylight savings

  7. Thanks for sharing that story. Or time change happened a couple of weeks back now... 8-)
    Enjoy more daylight!

  8. Winnifred you are reminding me that I am going to lose an hours sleep!! At least we can enjoy some lighter nights. Yes this is an interesting history.

  9. It is tonight here in France that we put our clocks forward and I am so pleased, because I wake up as soon as I see a chink of daylight through the shutters, and I can't go back to sleep again, so I have been waking at six at present! This way it will give me an extra hour at least to seven, well not tonight perhaps but from tomorrow night!

  10. We have it here also, and I don't like it, this year they didn't change the clocks in Oct. like usual, they waited till sometime in Nov. and then they changed them back again in March instead of April. So who is it saving daylight for? I say leave it this way now. It takes this old body a while to catch up.

  11. I had to think for a moment too and then realize of course our daylight savings would be different in the states! LOL!

  12. Thanks for the informative post! I wondered where it started. I do like the extra hour of daylight. I do not like losing that hour of sleep. It takes forever to get used to it.

  13. I didn't realize that you changed your clocks for Daylight Savings at a different time than the US.
    Quite interesting history you've written.
    Although we feel tired the first few days, overall we enjoy the extra daylight in the evening..

  14. Very interesting Winifred, I never knew the background to BST. Thanks for the heads up on the change too.

  15. Hey there! Just stopping by...

  16. I loved your comment on the "General Bewilderment" lane in the pool!

    Our clocks go back, and the debate continues here too. Personally, I'd rather have all the extra daylight later in the day, but it is quite dark at 7am now. Mind you, having lived through a few northern hemisphere winters, 2 in England, I don't think most Australians know what "dark mornings" means!


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