Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday share: Why the clocks change

Our clocks didn't change when the rest of your clocks seem to have changed. Ours always change on the last weekend of March and the last weekend of October. So, since this is the last weekend in March, our clocks change this weekend. Because of this, I have decided to make that the theme for this week's Sunday share. Enjoy!

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Why Change the Clocks?
By Roger Bara

Twice a year the clocks change, forward in the Spring and then back again in the Autumn. But why?

It happens twice a year. We all change our clocks and watches by one hour. In the spring, we add an hour, and go onto what is called British Summer Time, while in the autumn, we do the reverse, and adhere to Greenwich Mean Time.

Why bother?
It's all to do with saving the hours of daylight, and was started by a chap called William Willett, a London builder, who lived in Petts Wood in Kent.

Basically, he reckoned that you could improve the population's health and happiness by putting forward the clocks by twenty minutes every Sunday in April and do the opposite in September.

Economies
His idea was not taken up, even though a 'Daylight Saving Bill' was introduced some five years before the outbreak of World War One. But once the war started, it was considered prudent to economise, to promote greater efficiency in using daylight hours, and in the use of artificial lighting. And so in 1916, 'Daylight Saving Time' was introduced.

Even though most countries abandoned this after that war, some eventually decided that it was a good idea, and most of these nations began to keep it throughout the year.

Experiment
Since 1972, Britain has decided to go with Greenwich Mean Time in winter, and British Summer Time in Summer. But back in 1968, Britain tried a four-year experiment by advancing time one hour ahead of GMT throughout the year.

But those living further north, particularly in Scotland, found it most unsatisfactory, with dark mornings for much of the year, and the experiment was dropped.

But the arguments rage on....and on.

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From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/jersey/content/articles/2005/03/21/why_change_clocks_feature.shtml

8 comments:

ChicagoLady said...

The U.S. and Canada decided to change our clocks earlier in the Spring and later in Autumn to help reduce electricity use. Not sure how much it's really helped, but then we've only been doing it a year now. Changing the clocks at different times in different countries sure makes it difficult to keep up the time difference.

Intense Guy said...

We have the technology to make it so we always have 12 hours of daylight - an infinitely adjustable clock that knows when sunrise and sunset can do it - :) I'm for that more than I am this hour change silliness.

LadyStyx said...

Not sure how much it helps out in reducing the use of electricity when there are all sorts of night owls around so it's not as though there's any real savings...

Tori_z said...

I wasn't aware the clock changing thing was new over there.

I agree that it's stupid though. The only thing I can see that it does is give you an hour less in bed during the last Sunday of March, and an hour more in bed during the last Sunday of October. You still get the same amount of hours of daylight, it's just that they happen at different times than when they would if you didn't change the clocks. And then there's the fact it completely messes up your sleeping pattern and routine. Families with young children especially must hate what it does to their routine. Yes, it means the Sunday at the end of March they get a bit of a lie in. But it also means their child isn't ready for bed until an hour later than normal. And then there's the Sunday the clocks go back... I'm sure parents hate that Sunday.

#I can't see how it saves electric. For one thing there are people - as Styxie said - who are up at night (either just because they're night owls, or because they do night shifts somewhere). For another thing, how does it save electric when all they've done is move the hours of light an hour forward for a few months? The planet naturally gets lighter and darker throughout the year. The times our clocks and watches say wouldn't affect that.

The clocks have been changing since several years before I was born, but it still doesn't make any sense to me.

Guineapiglou said...

I wish the clock's didn't keep changing as it confuses me lol

Tori_z said...

Louise:
Yeah... That makes two of us.

AliceKay said...

The time change isn't new over here. Just the weekends we change are new. They changed it last year, and as Chicagolady said, not sure how much it's really helped.

Tori_z said...

Why did they change the weekends you change the clocks on? Wouldn't it make more sense to have it done at the same time and leave it alone? Or - even better - stop messing about with the clocks in the first place.