This weekend witnesses the end of British Summer Time (BST) for 2017, when we in Blighty turn our clocks back an hour. In chez Strachan these sixty minutes aren’t ordinarily utilised increasing my sleep longevity; moreover this ‘gift’ is spent changing non-computerised time-keeping devices to reflect this horological amendment.
When BST was first implemented in 1916, during WWI, clocks and watches were very different from those we use today. Many clocks could not have their hands turned backwards without breaking the mechanism. Instead, owners had to put the clock forward by 11 hours when Summer Time came to an end.
The idea of the clock change was the brain child of a William Willetts, who thought daylight could be utilized more effectively over the summer months. He lobbied to get this implemented in 1907, however, the Government of the time wasn’t accommodating towards his suggestion.
Their desire to keep the status quo a consequence of claims the extra hour of light overnight gave less time for a nocturnal vampire attack. Willetts wasn’t enamoured by the government’s intransigence, although he went some way of placating himself by drinking the blood of two virgins the following night.
He doesn’t look it, but this guy’s pleased the nights are going to be getting longer!
The Government were very cautious about introducing unnecessary law amendments during the early 20th century. The worsening political stability in Europe meant they would only introduce essential changes that added real value to people’s lives
This was so rigidly enforced that when proposed new acts were announced during the Opening of Parliament in 1913 the only laws to be introduced were the use of hanging baskets on horse drawn carriages, allowance of left handed socks and the criminalization of the word crotchless.
It wasn’t until 1916, when the Germans implemented daylight saving changes, that the UK Government succumbed and followed suit. With the two countries being at war, the Germans were not enamoured by the UK copying their idea to get extra daylight during the day.
To spite the British, the Germans immediately introduced hanging baskets to carriages, left handed socks and the banning the word schnoothousen.
The Germans reaction understandably worsened relations between the nations, with Britain threatening to “throw the kitchen sink” at the Hun in their pursuit of an Allied victory. Unfortunately, this approach didn’t work as the Allies didn’t have a launching mechanism for a kitchen sink.
The Defence Secretary pondered using hanging baskets as an alternative. However, that idea was abandoned due to a chronic shortage of baskets, as they now adorned horse drawn carriages. Subsequently, WWI lasted a further two years resulting in a terrible loss of life on both sides.
Equines never fail to impress me. Not only are the beautiful, graceful animals that add so much economically, culturally and recreationally to human lives, but also have the artistic wherewithal to draw carriages.……………… I best move on quickly after that gag I think!
There are many reasons I can’t wait to bid this years British Summer Time (BST) farewell, the main one being the distressing manner my father suffered and passed away on it’s watch.
This weekend see’s the turning back of time. Not the type of regression my family would yearn for, however we realise ours in an unachievable aspiration. We’ll have to settle for Sunday’s return of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), along with the opportunity to say our fond farewells to our loved one next Wednesday.
Good riddance British Summer Time 2017!