When did the clocks go back?
This year’s clocks go back early hours of Sunday October 28; at 2am, UK reverts to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by goes back one hour, to 1am. This marks the official end of British summertime. A clever way to remember hour-change is “Spring forward, Fall back.” Relish extra 60 minutes in bed so mornings will be lighter for now, at least but the evenings will be darker. The event means making plans for the day despite prevalence of smartphones and other devices to alter time automatically, there is always one person who didn’t get the message.
When infernal darkness ends?
We won’t see lighter nights again until Sunday March 31st 2019, when clocks will wind forward at 1am and British Summer Time begins.
How dark UK gets in winter?
In the UK the maximum 16 hours and 50 minutes of daylight falls on longest day in June known as summer solstice. On shortest day, Thursday December 21, this dwindles to seven hours and 49 minutes when the sun rises at 8:03am and sets at 3:53pm in London.
Daylight Saving Idea Origin?
Edwardian builder William Willett introduced the idea of British Summer Time, also known as Daylight Saving Time, in 1907. Willett is a great-great-grandfather of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. A keen supporter of the outdoors, he noticed that during the summer people were still asleep when the sun had risen and wanted to stop Brits from wasting valuable daylight hours. Clocks were set to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) meaning light by 3am and dark at 9pm midsummer. So Willett published pamphlet called ‘The Waste of Daylight‘ to get people out of bed earlier by changing the nation’s clocks, arguing it will improve health and happiness so save country £2.5 million. He proposed the clocks be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed same way during September. His idea was ridiculed and the Daylight Saving Bill got nowhere in Parliament but introduced in 1909. Willett, was not deterred. He spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his scheme was a good one. Sadly, he died of the flu in 1915 at the age of 58; a year before Germany adopted his clock-changing plan on April 30, 1916 when clocks were put forward at 11pm. Britain followed a month later on May 21 and Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey all followed. William Willett laid outserious proposition for daylight saving scheme. Britain and Germany had been fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and a system that could take pressure off economy and conserve fuel worth trying. So 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. Back then hands on some clocks can’t turn back without breaking mechanism. Owners put the clock forward by 11 hours as Summer Time came to an end on 1 October 1916.
The Home Office put out special posters telling people how to reset their clocks to GMT and national newspapers also gave advice. Willett, died at his home near Bromley in Kent, commemorated for his efforts by a memorial sundial in nearby Petts Wood, set permanently to Daylight Saving Time. The Daylight Inn in Petts Wood is named in his honour and there’s a road there called Willett Way. Willett wasn’t alone in realising the potential of utilising wasted daylight hours. As far back as 1784, Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, wrote a letter to the Journal of Paris making fun of fact people sleeping through daylight and burning candles and fuel for light at night. Franklin even suggested tax on shuttered windows or public alarm clocks to solve problem.
Time difference of one hour?
Today clocks are almost always set one hour back or ahead, but in history there were several variations, half adjustment (30 minutes) or double adjustment (two hours), adjustments of 20 or 40 minutes used. A two-hour adjustment was used in several countries during 1940s and elsewhere at times. A half adjustment is used in New Zealand in the first half of the 20th century. Australia’s Lord Howe Island (UTC+10:30) of DST schedule in which clocks are moved 30 minutes forward to UTC+11, which is Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) during DST. In 1940 during the Second World War, the clocks in Britain were not put back by an hour at the end of Summer Time. Years, later clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each spring and put back by an hour each autumn until July 1945. During summers Britain was two hours ahead of GMT and operating on British Double Summer Time (BDST). The clocks were brought back in line with GMT at the end of summer in 1945. In 1947, due to fuel shortages, clocks were advanced by one hour on two occasions during the spring, and put back by one hour on two occasions during the autumn, means that Britain was back on BDST during that summer.
Ditching Daylight Saving Time?
Those who want change say it’s not clear if any energy savings are made, while there are also potential health risks. Critics claim the darker mornings are dangerous for children walking to school and the energy saving argument may be invalid if people switch on fans and air-conditioning units during the lighter, warmer evenings. But unlikely to bother people in the UK. In 2011, Tory MP Rebecca Harris floated a bill calling for year-round daylight savings but failed to complete passage through Parliament before the end of the session and was dropped. A YouGov poll same year found 53pc of Britons supported moving clocks an hour permanently while 32pc opposed the change. The proposals were met less warmly by the Scottish population; Alex Salmond called campaign to “plunge Scotland to morning darkness” and SNP colleague MP Angus MacNeil said any change has “massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester. “It is no secret Tories in the south want to leave Scotland in darkness but fixing clocks to British summertime means the dawn wouldn’t break in Scotland until nearly 9am,” he said. He had a point. Following a 1968 to 1971 trial, BST employed all year round northern Scotland saw a net increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured. The sun wouldn’t rise fully until 10am in parts of Scotland and the country’s 1,000-or-so dairy farmers, who wake up before 5am, would have to work for hours in the dark. Other farmers and construction workers, who need sunlight to perform their jobs, would end up having to work later into the evening. Some folks keen to reach a compromise have suggested the clocks change at Hadrian’s Wall and not at Calais. Philip Broom writing on the National Farmer’s Union website in 2011 said: “A definite no. Combining will not start until midday and then have to go on until 11 o’clock. Our day is long enough now.” ‘A Thomas’ writing on the NFU site, was worried “younger people having loud parties or barbecues in gardens and youths hanging around on streets make itnightmare for people getting up for work early mornings.”
A massive wind-up for some…
Spare a thought for the staff of the Royal Collection. They spend over 50 hours adjusting over 1000 clocks spread across the official residences of The Queen. Following months of planning, staff at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh start work in the early hours of the morning to ensure that the time is set accurately. There are 379 timepieces at Windsor Castle, 500 at Buckingham Palace and 80 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse including organ clocks, astronomical clocks, musical clocks and mechanical clocks.
Why keep Daylight Saving Time
There have been various trials over the decades from double summer time (GMT + 2 hours) during Second World War to permanent British Summer Time (GMT + 1 hour) during late 1960s but the current system of changing the clocks at the end of March and October has been in place since 1972. Those in favour say that it would reduce traffic accidents, save energy, boost tourism and encourage more people to exercise outdoors. In the 1980s, the golf industry estimated one extra month of daylight savings could generate up to $400 million (£246.6 million) a year in extra sales and fees. Daylight Savings Time “affects everything from terrorism to the attendance at London music halls, voter turnout to street crime, gardening to profits of radio stations,” said David Prerau, author of Saving the Daylight: Why We Put the Clocks Forward. This debate stretches years into the past, and the future of British time is still unclear.
Sandringham Time GMT/30mins
Added complication for Royal servants between the years 1901 to 1936 was the concept of ‘Sandringham Time’ which was introduced in by Albert, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. A keen fan of shooting, he wanted to make the most of winter daylight, so he ordered all clocks on the estate to be set half an hour fast. The tradition was continued by King George V after he acceded to the throne in 1925 but King Edward VIII abolished it in 1936 shortly before his abdication Sandringham House
Coping With The Time Changes
- When the clocks first go back, mornings are lighter so ensure bedrooms are kept dark with blinds or curtains.
- Alter bedtime by around 10 minutes over a few days beforehand to adjust to the new time.
- Maintain bedtime routines. Get ready for bed in the same order e.g pyjamas on, tooth brushing, bedtime story.
- Turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime.
- Offer a milky, warm drink to encourage sleepiness and avoid stimulating food and drink just before sleep.
- Make sure all the clocks are correct.