Daylight saving time: Why do the clocks go forward?
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Every year at the end of March, we turn our clocks forward to enjoy an extra hour of sunlight in the summer evenings. However, by the time October arrives, it’s time to put the clocks back again. To avoid oversleeping or running late, make sure you know when the clocks go back this year.
When do the clocks go back?
Every year, the clocks go back on the last Sunday in October, and go forward again on the last Sunday in March.
Between March and October, we are one hour forward in British Summer Time (BST), and the rest of the year we are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
This year, the clocks will go back one hour on Halloween – Sunday, October 31, 2021 – at 2am.
Most smartphones and computers will correct the time automatically, so you don’t have to worry about changing them.
It just means it might feel as though your alarm is waking you up an hour earlier than usual!
The practice of turning clocks back during the summer is also known as ‘daylight saving time’ and many other countries also do it.
In 2019, the European Transport committee voted to end daylight savings time across the EU, but this hasn’t yet come into effect.
Why do the clocks go back?
The idea to set clocks back during the lighter months originated before the invention of electric light.
The logic was that if people woke up earlier, they could complete their work during the daytime, and therefore use fewer candles.
The campaign to set the clocks back an hour during British Summer Time was started by a builder, William Willett, who wanted to enjoy more hours of sunlight during the summer months.
A keen golfer, Willett was annoyed when his games had to be cut short when the sun went down.
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So, in 1907 he published a pamphlet titled ‘The Waste of Daylight’, to campaign for the clocks going back.
Funnily enough, Willett’s great-great-grandson is Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who had a number one single with the song ‘Clocks’ in 2002.
The concept of British Summer Time became law in the Summer Time Act of 1916.
When do clocks go forward?
The clocks will be set forward one hour again for Summer 2022 on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
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