British Summer Time might seem a distant memory while the weather is chilly! But it’s not far away – this year the clocks will change on March 26th.
British Summer Time begins at 01:00 GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends at 01:00 GMT on the last Sunday in October.
It was started in 1916 and permanently in force during the Second World War from February 1940 to October 1945 and then again from February 1968 to October 1971.
One of the first campaigners was William Willett who was apparently incensed at the ‘waste’ of useful daylight in the morning during the summer months. He was a keen horse rider and made the most of the early morning light whilst out riding. Although the sun had been up for hours while he was riding through his local woods of Petts Wood and Chislehurst, the residents of the villages were still in bed. In 1907 ‘The Waste of Daylight’ was published, and suggested ways to encourage people to get up earlier in the summer by changing the nation’s clocks. Sadly he died in 1915 having fought for the acceptance of his time changing idea with no support from the government. Only the next year, Germany introduced the system and Britain followed in May 1916, as a system to save fuel and money. The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed and the first day of British Summer Time – 21st May 1916 was widely reported.
Many of our electronic items nowadays have an automatic setting to adjust to BST – years ago it wasn’t that simple. Clocks needed to be moved forwards by eleven hours rather than one hour back. The government at the time had to produce posters to tell people how to reset their clocks. What will you be doing to make the most of the extra hours of daylight?