Turn Back Time
Turn Back Time
By: jbhthescots@mac.com, Categories: Words & Images, 1 comment

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This coming Sunday is when British Summer Time, also known as Daylight Saving Time, ends, and we get to Cher-like turn back time (In the U.S., the clocks will be turned back on Nov. 1,) by changing our watches, clocks and digital devices for a glorious extra hour in Slumberland, also twinned with Duvetville.

 

Why we keep up this confusing practice of moving the clocks – first proposed as a joke by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 to save on candles, but in fact championed by British businessman and golf fanatic  William Willett, who is also credited with the idea as a way of getting up earlier and so having more daylight hours after work to play a round – seems to be lost in time.

 

The moving of the clocks was first introduced at the start of World War One by Germany and Austria, and then in 1916 by the allies, to save on coal usage. In 1940, clocks were not put back at the end of summer, and so for the remainder of the war the nation was on Double British Summer Time – two hours ahead of Greenwich meantime in the summer months, and one hour ahead during winter.

 

While the UK has always had daylight savings time since it was first introduced, it only came into widespread use across the world during the 1970s because of the energy crisis; and many now believe the time is right to stop the practice of clocks being turned forward and backwards.  And I remember the last time we experimented with this when I was a kid.

 

In 1968, good ol’ Harold Wilson’s government began a three-year experiment which saw the nation’s clocks put forward an extra hour – but not everyone was a fan of darker winter mornings. We Scots, in particular, protested that double BST would leave the nation in darkness until 10am. Getting to school in pitch-black mornings during this period, I all but looked like the Orange Tango Man, bedecked in reflective orange vest, hat, schoolbag and arm-bands while also carrying a torch.

 

In 1971 the House of Commons voted to abandon the experiment by an almost unanimous majority due to safety fears.  It was only years later they discovered that all the data showing it to be dangerous was seriously flawed – it was actually the statisticians here that were the one’s working in the dark!

 

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1 Comment

  • I bet you looked so cute as an orange tango man lol!!!! I wish I had seen you then.....

    love

    mary xxxxx

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