< Back to blog

A matter of time Posted On 26 March 2021

The clocks go forward this month, but what does it all mean?

 

What started with a throwaway remark in 1784 has influenced our lives for more than 100 years. But although one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, observed on a visit to France that Parisiennes should be woken an hour earlier by cannons and church bells, the concept of Daylight Saving Time (DST) – or as it is more widely-known British Summer Time – did not gain traction until 1895 when a New Zealand scientist, George Vernon Hudson, proposed to his government that the clocks should go forward by two hours every summer.

Although he was unsuccessful, an English builder, William Willett, began lobbying Parliament in 1907 to alter the clocks to create more hours of daylight in the summer. Although cynics sniped it was to allow Willett more time to play golf and ride out, he argued we were frittering away natural light by rising at the same time in the summer as in the darker days of winter.

He advocated putting clocks forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by 80 minutes (20 minutes at a time during April) and reversing it in similar stages throughout September. But it wasn’t until the spring of 1916, a year after his death, that Willett’s proposal was adopted – and then only by an hour – as wartime governments around Europe tried to cut fuel consumption and increase productivity.

For most of us, though, it all revolves around whether, for one day, we are gaining – or losing – an extra hour under the duvet. So, in this case, it means after 1am on Sunday March 28th, we spring forward from our beds, desperately hoping the other half remembered to adjust the central heating settings.

The main advantage, of course, is that evenings gradually become lighter, promoting more activity after work, which is obviously good for general health and the retail sector, which has long complained that darker, colder afternoons reduce footfall apart from around Christmas.

Consequently, people generally feel happier and more energetic. Employers’ organisations say there are lower sickness rates among their workers while instances of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as winter depression) drop significantly, while carb cravings are also lowered.

And once the clocks go forward, the clock starts ticking down to the first of the Bank Holiday weekends, heralded by the four-day Easter blockbuster, followed by two more in May and another at the end of August.

So, as you ponder the complexities of resetting the timer on the boiler count yourself fortunate.

There are more than 2,000 clocks in the Houses of Parliament.

And the time on your Smartphone updates automatically.

< Back to blog

Connect with us

Recent Posts

England will need nerves of steel in Euros showdown

Expect Scotland’s underdogs to bare their teeth in Group D clash   Ever since Robert the Bruce gave King Edward II a good seeing to at Bannockburn more than 700 years ago this month, relationships been England and Scotland have been a bit spicey. Not that they were over-cordial beforehand, but by defying the odds …

Read more...

‘Resilient’ Emona finally lands her dream role

Framework Digital impressed with new designer’s positive attitude   Emona Savova is proof that resilience and a positive attitude, allied to talent, can eventually lead to the job of your dreams… even if you have to wait a few years. The graphic and web designer first started collaborating with locally-based Framework Digital in 2018 while …

Read more...

Taking the indoors-outdoors

Making the most of your space   With warmer weather approaching, now is the perfect time to re-vamp your outside space ready for entertaining. The first thing to look at is the size and orientation of your garden. What do you want to use the space for, entertaining (dappled sun or shade is often best …

Read more...

Home is where the heart is

Even if you can’t remember which box you put it in!   Moving house is well known to be one of the most stressful things you can do, yet the lure of a new home is almost impossible to ignore. With the 30th June ‘end of stamp duty holiday’ deadline fast approaching, many are frantically …

Read more...

Ready, Steady, App-tion!

The apps you need to know about to enhance your summer   ‘There’s an app for that’ is a phrase often banded about- for good reason, it really does seem these days that there is an app for just about everything. With the market flooded with competitors, it can be difficult to sort which apps …

Read more...