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Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
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Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
6:00 PM 26th March 2016

British Summer Time 2016 - Clocks Go Forward Tonight

Canary Wharf clocks - photo Chris McKenna
Canary Wharf clocks - photo Chris McKenna
British Summer Time starts this weekend. With the advent of Spring the nights become lighter and the winter should fade away. This year on Easter Sunday (27 March) in the UK we move to British Summer Time at 1am.

Most of us struggle to remember if we put the clocks forward or back. This happens twice a year. In spring we go forward and in autumn back.

Forward or back?
People often say, "do we put clocks forward or back". An easy way to remember this is 'spring forward, fall back'

So what does this mean?
Yes unfortunately we will all lose one hour's sleep tonight but at least that means that summer should be on its way and the evenings will be getting lighter.

1 hour less in bed - photo Richard Riley
1 hour less in bed - photo Richard Riley
Whose idea was it?
William Willett was the man who introduced the idea of British Summer Time, aka as Daylight Saving Time, in 1907. He was a keen horse-rider and was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer.

He spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his scheme was a good one.

Willett unfortunately died in 1915, a year before Germany adopted his clock-changing plan on 30 April 1916 and Britain adopted the idea a month later on 21 May 1916.

The Summer Time Act of 1916 was passed by Parliament and the 21 May 1916 was reported in the press as being the first day of British Summer Time.

photo - Earls37a
photo - Earls37a
Why do the clocks change?
The theory behind daylight saving time is observed by most of the Western world as people are generally more productive if daylight hours are extended in the evenings.

British Summer Time was first implemented in 1916 and aside from a few deviations during wartime, it has remained ever since.

Technology does it for us
Experts say that because we all tend to rely on technology most of us will forget to put our clocks forward this weekend.

Samsung UK did a survey of 2,000 people and over a quarter didn't know that the clocks changed this weekend and 51% said they wouldn't remember to change their clocks unless prompted. We live in a digital world and 41% said they would check the time on their phone first which would be done automatically.


In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, meaning this Sunday 27 March.

The clocks go back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. This year the clocks will go back on 30 October.

The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST). There's more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).

When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).