Spring forward with the clocks changing this weekend

First published: 28-03-2019

7 surprising facts about Daylight Saving Time

British Summer Time starts this weekend, with the clocks springing forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 31st March. Yes, we lose an hour’s sleep but we do get our lovely light evenings back.

The Watch Shop team were curious to know more about why we change our clocks and discovered the following unusual facts.

  1. We have William Willett to thank for the idea. He wrote a pamphlet in 1907 called The Waste of Daylight, frustrated at the nation’s waste of important daylight hours in the summer.
  2. It was first adopted in 1916, a year after William Willett’s death, though by Germany not the UK. We followed suit a few weeks afterwards, increasing our productivity during wartime.
  3. Farmers see a big benefit to Daylight Saving Time, especially those in the North of England who otherwise would be working for longer in the dark.
  4. When first introduced, there was great concern that changing clocks by hand would damage their delicate mechanism. Newspapers printed official guidelines to reduce the number of clocks that were broken.
  5. Around 70 countries worldwide join the UK in following Daylight Saving Time. It benefits those in Europe and North America most, with countries nearer the Equator seeing far less variation in daylight hours.
  6. Iceland, Russia and Belarus choose not to change their clocks, largely because they have more extreme daylight variations.
  7. A straw poll amongst the team revealed that the last clock to be changed in every house is the one on the cooker. We’ll get round to it before October, right?

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