British Summer Time: Why do we change the clocks?

editorial image
0
Have your say

Early tomorrow morning (Sunday) will see the clocks go forward one hour to make way for British Summer Time (BST). But why do we change the clocks at this time of year?

British Summer Time was first introduced in 1907 by William Willett to help the war effort throughout the summer months during the First World War.

It meant agricultural work, which had fewer workers around after many farmhands joined the armed services, could go on later into the evening.

The Summer Time Act of 1916 was passed by Parliament and the first official day of British Summer Time was May 21 1916.

Read: Everything you need to know about the clocks going forward

The time put forward hasn’t always been an hour. Throughout history it has changed from half and hour to two hours and at one point the time changed by 40 minutes. During the Second World War, Britain’s clocks were not put back by an hour at the end of Summer Time.

In the years that followed, clocks continued to be advanced by one hour each spring and put back by an hour each autumn until July 1945.

During these summers Britain was two hours ahead of GMT and operating on British Double Summer Time (BDST).

Read: Which services will be affected by train strikes next week?

The clocks were brought back in line with GMT in 1945 but two years later due to severe fuel shortages, clocks were put forward by one hour on two occasions during the spring, and put back by one hour on two occasions during the autumn, meaning that Britain was back on BDST during that summer.

Between 1968 and 1971 the clocks were changed to BST permanently as an experiment but after complaints that it made Scotland too dark in the mornings, the sun didn’t rise until 9am, the Government reverted to using BST between March and October.

Although changing the clocks seems like a strange thing to do it will make mornings brighter when there is an extra hour of sunshine.

But do spare a thought for the staff at Buckingham Palace as they must move forward over 500 clocks in the Royal residence.

Remember: The clocks will go forward at 1am

Read: Which roads will be closed when the Tour de Yorkshire rides through?