British Summer Time starts on the last Sunday in March, with clocks going forward one hour at 1am in the UK – here’s the story why.

100 years anniversary

No, it’s not because of a Time Lord, but it is because of a chap called William Willett who campaigned for British Summer Time (BST) from 1907 and the First World War.

He wanted to stop people from wasting hours of light during summer mornings. Mr Willett proposed advancing the clocks by 80 minutes in four 20 minute steps during successive Sundays at 2am through April – increasing daylight recreation time and saving millions of pounds on lighting bills.

The process would then be similarly reversed through September.

Churchill lends his support, but war prompts move

A young Winston Churchill offered his backing for a time and a parliamentary committee had a look at the issue in 1909, but the idea stalled.

But the start of the First World War brought daylight saving into sharp relief, with the move approved by Parliament on 17 May 1916 amid the need to save coal. Germany had already introduced the measure a month before.

The first day of British Summer Time was Sunday 21 May 1916 when the clocks were moved forward by an hour.

Sadly, Mr Willett did not live to see the news after catching a fatal case of the flu in 1915.

watch collage

What’s the time? Time for a stylish, retro watch at! Click here to see the range

A link to Chris Martin and Coldplay

Curiously, Mr Willett is a great-great-grandfather of the lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin.

And one of the band’s songs is called Clocks, while another is Daylight…

Just don’t forget that the clocks go forward on 27 March 2016 in the UK this year! They then go back at 2am on the last Sunday in October (30 October).



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