So it’s here again, the time of year when the clocks go forward and we all complain that we’ve had less sleep.
The clocks will go forward this coming Sunday (26th March) at 1am – many of us will more than likely be fast asleep at the time.
This marks the time when we move from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Summer Time (BST) – this is also known as Daylight Saving Time (DST) or GMT+1. This allows for evenings during our summer months to be lighter for longer.
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the first change of our clocks in this manner.
The History of Daylight Saving
It was actually Benjamin Franklin who first proposed the idea whilst in Paris in 1784 – the main reason for the suggestion was that if people were up earlier then they would use less candles & therefore save a good deal of money!
A man named William Willett decided that Benjamin Franklin’s idea would be of benefit to us in the UK and in 1907 published a leaflet concerning ‘The Waste of Daylight’, encouraging people to get out of bed earlier. FUN FACT - William Willett is the great-great-grandfather of none other than Chris Martin – the lead singer of Coldplay.
One of the driving factors for Willett was that he was a keen golfer and was frustrated that his games were cut short by the failing light in the evenings.
The UK government discussed the proposal way back in 1908 but wasn’t made law until 1916 a year after Willett died having spent the rest of his life trying to convince people to introduce his idea.
The first country in Europe to introduce Daylight Saving was Germany during WW1, just prior to the UK. During WW2 the British Government introduced what was termed British Double Summer Time (BDST), where the clocks actually went forward by 2 extra hours – however this didn’t last very long.
Our clocks now go back by one hour on the last Sunday in October and the last Sunday in March every year.
What’s the reaction?
There are various opinions on whether we should change our clocks at all. They argue that DST doesn’t really save any energy and it can make it darker for children walking to school in the mornings.
Other’s think that BST is a good thing because it saves energy, by making better use of natural daylight and helps reduce traffic accidents. The verdict is split but the change remains in place for now.