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Why Do The Clocks Go Back?

This year, the clocks will go back on October 27th meaning you get and extra hour in bed!

The time will ‘fall back’ by an hour (GMT+1) until the Sunday, March 29th, when the clocks ‘spring forward’ and GMT will resume again.

What time will the clocks change?

On October 27th, the clocks will go back by an hour at 2am. This, for most of us, should mean an extra hour in bed, but it also means darker evenings.

While smartphones and many other devices will automatically switch to the new time, it is best to check your clocks to avoid getting caught out.

Where did the idea of changing the clocks come from?

Blame William Willett, a prominent Edwardian builder and businessman, who put forward the idea of daylight savings time. He argued that the clocks should change in the summer to get people up and about earlier (he was frustrated that he was the only person enjoying the daylight during his early morning horse rides.)

In 1907 he published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, outlining plans to encourage people out of bed earlier in summer and spent the rest of his life fighting to get the government to agree. He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back it. But the following year, Germany introduced the system and Britain followed in May 1916.

Politicians hoped that the extra hours of daylight would reduce the amount of coal used for lighting, in order to lessen the economic strains caused by the First World War.

Image result for william willett

Did you know?

When the system was first introduced, many clocks could not have their hands turned backwards, and had to be put forward by 11 hours instead. The Home Office put out special posters telling people how to reset their clocks.

Do we still need to do it? 

Many people think we should ditch Greenwich Mean Time entirely and stick with BST all year round, to align with working hours on the continent and increase safety around schools at collection time.

The government has actually tried abandoning GMT twice before. In the Second World War (1939-45), Britain had adopted Double British Summer Time, with the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich in winter and two hours ahead in summer Then they trialled year-round daylight savings in 1968, under a three-year experiment called British Standard Time.

When the experiment ended in 1971, the Home Office concluded there were both pros and cons to having the clocks forward and decided to return to the original British Summer Time.

It has been in place ever since – despite criticism from some groups.