Saddleworth COVERS INDEISGN.indd - page 86

86
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Fall Back in Time
The clocks go back this month but why do we play with time twice a year?
It was the American Benjamin Franklin,
who first suggested the idea of daylight
saving. He wrote an essay called ‘
An
Economical Project
’, in Paris during his
time as an American delegate there in 1784.
The idea received some interest, but was
then forgotten.
It was a British builder called William
Willett who really set the ball rolling. In a
pamphlet, ‘
The Waste of Daylight
.’ he
wrote:
“Everyone appreciates the long, light
evenings. Everyone laments their shortage
as Autumn approaches…”
Inspired by Willett a bill was drafted in 1909
and brought before Parliament several times.
On each occasion it met with scorn,
particularly from the farming community.
But with the First World War came the need
to save coal. A bill was passed and the
clocks were advanced on Sunday, May 21st
1916. The tradition of British Summer Time
(BST) had begun.
The switch initially met with opposition and
confusion.
The Royal Meteorological
Society insisted that Greenwich Mean Time
(GMT) would still be used to measure the
tides. Some parks decided to close at dusk,
while others like Kew Gardens ignored the
new system. Eventually though the seasonal
time changes became generally accepted.
Since then there have been occasional calls
for BST to either be implemented
throughout the year or scrapped completely,
with campaigners on both sides citing
statistics on road accidents, mental health
issues and farming issues.
Don’t forget to put your clocks back
on Sunday October 28th
!
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