Like many other countries, the U.K. changes its clocks twice a year to extend daylight. On October 25th, the time “falls” back one hour, signaling the start of fall and the shortening of days. Now observed in over 70 countries, Daylight Saving Time pushes clocks forward one hour during the summer, making the days feel longer and giving people more time to get work done in daylight. As British summertime ends, get ready to rug up and welcome the colors of a new season.
History of British Summertime Ends
British Summer Time has a complex history, starting with World War I and undergoing several changes before evolving into its current form. The concept of Daylight Saving Time, an idea first recorded by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, was introduced in Britain in 1907. William Willett, annoyed with the lost hours of daylight he perceived as a waste, wrote a pamphlet encouraging governments to adopt daylight saving time.
It wasn’t until after his death that Germany became the first European country to adopt it, with the U.K. quickly following suit as the Great War bore down on the continent. Concerned about the delicate mechanisms of early 20th century clocks, officials published guidelines and warnings in newspapers to ensure people could change their time without damaging their clocks.
During World War II, things got even more complicated as the British adopted British Double Summer Time, pushing the clock forward two hours. Between 1968-1971, the country experimented with staying on summertime all year long. The experiment ended, although it’s possible the longer days contributed to lower car crash rates.
Before the government established formal Summer Time, King Edward VII, an avid hunter, used his own version called Sandringham Time to give himself an extra 30 minutes of daylight for hunting on his country estate. The United States adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1918, establishing both standard time and geographic time zones. The unpopular system, repealed after World War I, was reinstated as “War Time” using World War II, and finally standardized again nationwide in 1975.
The debate over the benefits of daylight saving time rages on. Whether you think it’s an archaic custom leftover from another time or a useful tool for making the most of available daylight, you’ll find people passionately arguing for each side.
British Summertime Ends timeline
The Summer Time Act is revised to align with European Union standards.
For 3 years, Britain experiments with not changing the clocks and remaining at the same time year-round. Although the experiment was reversed, some research shows that the change might have reduced car accident rates.
During the summers of World War II, Britain operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time to give soldiers more daylight hours on the battlefield.
The Summer Time Act is passed, establishing Daylight Saving Time in the U.K.
British Summertime Ends FAQs
Why do we have British summertime?
The 1908 Daylight Saving Bill was the 1st attempt in the UK to move clocks forward 1 hour in summer. The idea was to provide more daylight hours after work for the training of the Territorial Army, to reduce railway accidents, and to reduce lighting expenses.
Why do clocks change 2 am?
It is done at night to minimise disruption to peoples lives such as working hours, travel schedules, opening hours etc. It happens at 2 am because the change in hour backwards in Autumn means the time remains within the same day (date) to minimise confusion in those who must be up and about.
What year did Britain not change the clocks?
With the war over, Britain returned to British Summer Time except for an experiment between 1968 and 1971 when the clocks went forward but were not put back.
British Summertime Ends Activities
Change and clean your clocks
Tour your house and make sure all your clocks are updated — and while you’re at it, give them a good dusting too!
Celebrate with a fall ritual
Welcome the end of summer and start of fall with a small ritual. Perhaps take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the falling leaves, change the decorations in your house, or give your home a good fall cleaning in anticipation of holiday guests.
Treat yourself to the last summer snack
Now is the time to savor that last sorbet, fresh summer fruit, or favorite refreshing cocktail. Enjoy your favorite seasonal treats while they’re still available.
5 Interesting Facts About British Summer Time
William Willet promoted the idea of British Summer Time so he could have more time to play golf in the evenings.
Daylight Saving Time became useful during the First World War as the extended daylight hours reduced the amount of coal needed to power lighting.
Odd Countries Out
Iceland, Belarus, and Russia are the only countries in Europe that do not observe Daylight Saving Time in any form. Around the world, only about a quarter of countries use it.
Let the Sunshine In
Natural light has many health benefits, including improved calcium absorption, higher levels of energy, and better sleep. Take advantage of summertime by spending more time outdoors.
Bad for the Heart
Lost sleep is associated with higher risk of heart attacks, and the evidence seems to bear this out: hospital admissions for heart attacks increase by 25% on the Monday after springing forward, and decline by 21% after falling back.
Why Summer Time Is Important
It lets people get more healthy vitamin D
Having more daylight in the evening gives us more time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Now that the evening times are shorter therefore the sunlight, getting some morning vitamin D has never been more important. The precursors of vitamin D, which are the molecules that produce the vitamin, present in our skins are activated with the sun, so soaking in at least 10 minutes of sun is always a good idea.
It reduces energy consumption - mostly
With more daylight available, we use less energy and conserve natural resources. However, on the other side, a recent study has shown that daylight savings time actually increases the cost of electricity bills, mostly from chugging air conditioners each year.
It promotes more active lifestyles
When the day is lighter later, people tend to participate in more outdoor activities after work. According to a myriad of research, people engage more in outdoor recreation and less indoor TV watching.
British Summertime Ends dates