How Chris Martin’s great-great-grandfather moved our clocks forward

Willett (who, by the way, is the great-great-grandfather of “Clocks” singer and author Chris Martin), put out a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight” in an effort to get people out out of bed earlier by changing the national clocks.

Willett proposed moving the clocks forward and back 80 minutes, advancing the clocks 20 minutes each of the four Sundays in April, and setting them back by the same amount each of the four Sundays in September, for a total of eight changes of hour. per year.

Proponents of the proposal argued that such a system could reduce domestic coal consumption and increase supplies available for manufacturing and the war effort during World War I.

Willett spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his plan was a good one. Sadly, he died a year before Germany enacted its clock change plan on April 30, 1916, when the clocks were put forward to 11 p.m. Britain followed suit a month later on May 21.

By then, Britain and Germany had been fighting in World War I (1914-18), and a system that could reduce pressure on the economy was worth trying.

The Summer Time Act 1916 was quickly passed through Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21 May 1916, was widely reported in the press.

At the time, the hands of many clocks could not be turned around without breaking the mechanism. Instead, the owners had to put the clock forward 11 a.m. when daylight saving time ended.

The Interior Ministry distributed special posters telling people how to reset their clocks to GMT, and national newspapers also gave advice.

Although Germany is commonly known as the first country to implement daylight saving time, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada implemented it in 1908.

Willett is commemorated for his efforts by a memorial sundial in nearby Petts Wood, permanently set to daylight saving time. The Daylight Inn in Petts Wood is named in his honor and there is a road called Willett Way.

Which countries use daylight saving time?

European countries that synchronize their daylight saving time are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Poland to name a few. However, some European countries do not use it at all: Russia, Iceland, Georgia, Armenia and Belarus.

In March 2019, the European Parliament backed a proposal to abolish the practice of changing clocks in 2021. time zone between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. . However, the final change has not been confirmed by the Council of the European Union and the clock changes have yet to take place.

DST occurs in most US states and territories except Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands . This year, participating U.S. states began DST at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13.

From 1986 to 2006, daylight saving time in America began on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. The current DST calendar was introduced on August 8, 2005, however, when President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act.

Many countries in the northern hemisphere (north of the equator) observe daylight saving time, but not all. In the Southern Hemisphere, participating countries begin DST between September and November and end between March and April.

Has the time difference always been one hour?

Clocks today are almost always set back or forward one hour, but throughout history there have been several variations, such as half setting (30 minutes) or double setting (two hours), and 20 and 40 minute adjustments were also used. A two-hour adjustment was used in several countries during the 1940s and occasionally elsewhere.

A half fit was sometimes used in New Zealand in the first half of the 20th century.

Australia’s Lord Howe Island (UTC+10:30) follows a DST schedule in which clocks are advanced 30 minutes to UTC+11, which is Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) during Eastern Standard Time. ‘summer.

In 1940, during the Second World War, British clocks were not set back one hour at the end of daylight saving time. Over the next few years, the clocks continued to be put forward one hour each spring and set back one hour each fall until July 1945.

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

The clocks were reset to GMT in late summer 1945. In 1947, due to severe fuel shortages, the clocks were put forward one hour twice in the spring, and moved back one hour twice. twice in the fall, meaning Britain was back on BDST that summer.

Should we get rid of summer time?

Those against daylight saving time say it is unclear whether energy savings are being made when there are also potential health risks.

Critics say darker mornings are dangerous for children walking to school and that the energy-saving argument may be invalid if people turn on fans and air-conditioning units during the clearer and warmer evenings. (But that’s unlikely to bother people in the UK.)

In 2011, Conservative MP Rebecca Harris introduced a bill calling for year-round daylight saving time, but it failed to complete its passage through parliament before the end of the session and was dropped. .

A YouGov poll from the same year found that 53% of Britons supported moving the clocks forward by one hour permanently, while 32% opposed the change.

The proposals were received less warmly by the people of Scotland; Then Prime Minister Alex Salmond called the campaign an attempt to ‘plunge Scotland into morning darkness’ and fellow SNP MP Angus MacNeil said any changes would have ‘massive implications for security and the well-being of all who live north of Manchester”.

“It’s no secret that southern Tories want to leave Scotland in darkness, but setting the clocks to British Summer Time would mean dawn wouldn’t break in Scotland until around 9 a.m.,” he said.

He was right. Following a trial from 1968 to 1971, when the BST was employed all year round, the north of Scotland saw a marked increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured.

The sun would not rise until 10 a.m. in parts of Scotland and the country’s nearly 1,000 dairy farmers, who wake up before 5 a.m., would have to work for hours in the dark.

Other farmers and construction workers, who need sunlight to do their jobs, would end up having to work later in the evening.

Some people wanting to reach a compromise have suggested that 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. The combination won’t start until noon and then has to go on until 11am. Our day is long enough now.”

And ‘A Thomas’, also writing on the NFU site, feared that ‘young people throwing rowdy parties or barbecues in backyards and young people hanging out in the streets are making it a nightmare for early risers in the morning to go to work.

The current system of daylight saving time at the end of March and October has been in place since 1972.

Those in favor of not changing the clocks in October say it would reduce traffic accidents, save energy, boost tourism and encourage more people to exercise outdoors.

In the 1980s, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of daylight saving time could generate up to $400m (£246.6m) a year in extra sales and costs.

DST “affects everything from terrorism in the Middle East to attendance at London music halls, from voter turnout to street crime, from gardening to radio station profits,” said David Prerau, author of Saving the Daylight: Why We Put the Clocks Forward.

A hard blow for some…

Spare a thought for the staff of the royal collection. They spend over 50 hours adjusting over 1000 clocks spread across the Queen’s official residences.

After months of planning, staff at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh start work early in the morning to ensure 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.

Jan G. Gilbert