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‘Spring forward, fall back.’ British Summer Time (BST) occurs on the last Sunday of March and represents the phenomenon when the clocks go forward in spring by one hour and, in autumn, on the last Sunday of October, reverts to Greenwich Mean Time. Can you believe that the proposal for BST was made in Britain in the early 20th century by a man who was angry at the waste of daylight during summer mornings? The practice is done so that there’s more daylight in the evening and less in the morning.
History of British Summer Time Begins
It is commonly thought that the idea of daylight saving time was proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 when, in an essay titled ‘An Economical Project’, he suggested Parisians change their sleeping schedule to save money on lamps and candles. Franklin merely concluded that rising with the sun would save the citizens of Paris a great deal of money because the benefits of daylight are more thrifty than artificial light.
George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, was the modern proponent of daylight saving time. In 1895, he suggested a two-hour time shift so that he can have more daylight in the evening to go bug hunting after work hours.
12 years later, William Willet made a serious proposal to the British parliament for daylight saving time. In his pamphlet, titled ‘The Waste of Daylight’, he argued for the clocks to be put forward by 80 minutes, which would result in longer daylight hours for recreation, improving health, and saving the country money in lighting costs. The idea got the support of Winston Churchill and Arthur Conan Doyle but was rejected by the British government. Willet continued arguing for the concept until his death in 1915.
It was not until World War I that Germans started looking for ways to save energy and remembered Willet’s idea to move clocks forward to have more daylight during working hours. Thus Germany adopted the concept and Britain followed suit a few weeks later.
British Summer Time Begins timeline
The latest edition of Willet’s pamphlet, ‘The Waste of Daylight,’ is published.
British Summer Time is first established.
Clocks are forwarded two hours ahead of GMT.
The EU rules that all member states should change their clocks on the last Sunday in March and October.
British Summer Time Begins FAQs
What does British Summer Time mean?
The period when the clocks are one hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST).
What months are British Summer Time?
The clocks go forward on the last Sunday of March and revert back on the last Sunday of October. This makes a total of seven months that account for British Summer Time.
Do clocks go forward or back?
An easy way to remember this is by the phrase ‘Spring forward, fall back,’ which means we jump forward in spring by moving our clocks one hour ahead and fall back by one hour in autumn (or fall).
British Summer Time Begins Activities
Change your clock
That must have been completely obvious by now! Put your clocks forward by an hour at 1 A.M. on Sunday, March 28 if you’re residing in the regions that follow Daylight Saving Time.
Attend the British Summer Time festival
You can celebrate the beginning of the warm summertime by taking part in the British Summer Time festival, which is a music festival held over two weekends once a year in London's Hyde Park. You’ll find a wide range of music genres — pop, rock, and hip-hop right in the heart of London’s Royal Park.
Celebrate the arrival of summer by quintessential British events like the Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, which are known for their lavish dress codes. Scones, tea, and strawberries are out in full force and enjoyed across the nation.
5 Facts About The Big Ben Clock Change
A team of five people do it
There is a dedicated team of five people who look after the clock-changing of this 154-year-old timepiece.
It takes five hours
It takes a total of five hours to turn the giant hands of Big Ben’s four clocks.
Starts at 9 P.M., ends at 2 A.M.
The team begins at 9 P.M. and finishes at around 2 A.M. and the clock rings to announce British Summer Time.
Doing it for more than a decade
Some of the members of the team have been doing this for more than a decade now.
Other important buildings
More than 2,000 clocks on the Palace of Westminster and the parliamentary building are changed at the same time.
Why We Love British Summer Time Begins
It saves millions of dollars for the government
An extra hour of evening daylight saves the NHS £200 million a year in accident-related costs.
People benefit more from longer evenings
The extra hour of daylight increases the time available for exercise and makes people more likely to attend evening sporting events. Researchers have found that children benefit more from longer evenings, where they can be active for up to 20% longer.
It has helped reduce the crime rate
The crime rate has seen a 3% drop because crimes are more likely to be committed in the evening than in the morning.
British Summer Time Begins dates