Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
1:00 AM 30th March 2024

Spring Forward!

Image by Gabe Raggio from Pixabay
Image by Gabe Raggio from Pixabay
Clocks go forward this weekend as the country enters British Summer Time.

That's right British Summer Time starts this weekend. The clocks will be changing on Sunday at 1am when we put the clocks forward one hour.

Forward or back?

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.

People often say, "do we put the clocks forward or back?"

The easiest way to remember is the saying 'Spring forward, fall back'.

Image by Christiane from Pixabay
Image by Christiane from Pixabay
So what does this mean?

Yes unfortunately we will all lose one hour's sleep, but at least that means summer should be on its way, days are getting longer and the evenings will be getting lighter.

Why do the clocks change?

Benjamin Franklin, who was an American inventor and politician, came up with the idea in 1784 while he was in Paris. The idea was that if people got up earlier when it was light it would save on candles.

Image by (Joenomias) Menno de Jong from Pixabay
Image by (Joenomias) Menno de Jong from Pixabay
The idea of British Summer Time (or Daylight Saving Time) arrived in the UK later when an Englishman William Willett, (the great great grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin), in 1907 thought it was a good idea too and proposed it to British Parliament.

He was a keen horse-rider and was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer.

Parliament discussed the idea of moving the clocks forwards and backwards in 1908 but Willett wasn't able to convince the people that it was a good idea.

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 21 May 1916 was reported in the press as being the first day of British Summer Time.

British Double Summer Time

This was temporarily introduced during the Second World War (2 hours in front of GMT). During the winter clocks were kept one hour forward of GMT in order to increase productivity.

When the war was over Britain returned to British Summer Time except for a brief period between 1968 and 1971 when clocks went forward but not back This was abandoned as not being very successful.

The future

Image by valentinsimon0 from Pixabay
Image by valentinsimon0 from Pixabay
There is an ongoing discussion as to whether in the UK we should continue to change our clocks.

In 2019 the European parliament voted to discontinue the hour change and after taking a poll most EU citizens agreed, but since Brexit the change has never been implemented as it no longer applies to the UK.

Technology does it for us

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay
Experts say that because we all tend to rely on technology most of us will forget to put our clocks forward this weekend.

So while your smartphone and laptop will update automatically, analog clocks and other digital clocks like in the car and the cooker will need to be manually changed before you go to bed.

In the UK clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March which in 2024 is this Sunday 31 March and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October which is 27 October 2024