Time to spring forward… but why do we change our clocks?
Find out what happened when the clocks didn’t change and read some interesting time facts…
The UK put its clocks forward one hour recently, moving from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Summer Time. Is this really necessary and what does it achieve?
During the past few decades there have been frequent attempts in the UK parliament to make changes to the current system, all though were unsuccessful.
In 1968 a three-year experiment began, when British Standard Time (GMT+1) was employed all year round. The clocks were put forward as usual in the March of that year and not put back until October 1971.
The Department for Transport's initial analysis of road casualty data during the experiment suggested more people were injured in the darker mornings, but fewer people were injured in the lighter afternoons.
It estimated a net reduction of 2,700 people killed or seriously injured during the first two years of the experiment.
However, it was recognised at the time that the calculations did not take into account drink-driving legislation passed in 1967, so the Department for Transport eventually re-analysed the data and factored that in.
A White Paper published in 1970 said it was impossible to quantify the advantages and disadvantages of British Standard Time.
The experiment was debated in the Commons on 2nd December 1970 and - by a vote of 366 to 81 - the experiment was discontinued.
Some interesting time facts:
• Up until the coming of the railways, people kept time by the sun. This was known as local mean time.
• It was only in 1880 that GMT was adopted countrywide.
• The idea of British Summer Time was floated in 1906 but not implemented until 1916.
• The British Summer Time Act 1972 stipulates that GMT begins on the last Sunday of October and BST on the last Sunday of March.
• The clocks were moved forward by an hour during World War II to maximise productivity at munitions factories and ensure people got home safely before the blackout.
Did you know that Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is also known as Zulu Time?
Military and Aviation refer to the 25 different time zones across the world as a letters of the alphabet and GMT is known to them as the letter ‘Z’ which is phonetically pronounced ‘Zulu’.
You may be wondering as there are 26 letters in the alphabet and only 25 world time zones, which letter is missed out? For some reason it’s the letter ‘J’.
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