When do the clocks go back and why does the UK change to daylight saving time?

It's that time of the year when we know that we're heading towards winter: the weather is wetter - albeit not that much colder yet; red, yellow and brown leaves cover the ground, and the nights are drawing longer.

Time for the clocks to go back
Time for the clocks to go back

This weekend marks another moment in the is the clocks changing.

The last weekend of October is when we put the time back by an hour (they go forward again in spring). The change will mean slightly lighter mornings, but that inevitably leads to darkness arriving much earlier. From next week sunset will be by 4.45pm.

Here's what you need to know about the change in time this weekend?

What time do the clocks go back?

British Summer Time will end at 2am on Sunday when we go back an hour to 1am and Greenwich Mean Time kicks in. For most of us, that means another hour in bed.

Mobile phones and other smart devices connected to the internet should update automatically, but analogue clocks and other household items such as ovens and microwaves will probably need to be changed manually.

How do I remember which way to change my clock?

There’s a simple phrase that helps Spring forward, fall back.

Clocks always go forward an hour on the last weekend in March, going the other way in the autumn - or fall as it’s known in America.

Why do the clocks change?

The Royal Museums Greenwich, which owns the Royal Observatory, says that daylight savings is a way to make the most of the make the most of increased summer daylight hours in the northern hemisphere.

Back in 1784 Benjamin Franklin suggested it in an article, but it wasn't until the early 20th century that the idea was the idea further.

In 1907 a builder called William Willett campaigned to put clocks forward in spring and return them in the autumn. Angry at the waste of daylight during summer mornings, he self-published a pamphlet called "The Waste of Daylight".

His plan was much more complicated though. He suggested 80-minute changes in four separate moves of 20 minutes across a month-long period.

The following year a Bill to put the clocks forward by an hour during the spring and summer months was rejected by the House of Commons, despite backing from a certain Winston Churchill.

Willett kept up his campaign and in 1916 The Summer Time Act was passed, initially as a temporary measure for the rest of the First World War to conserve energy - particularly coal - and provide more usable hours of daylight when people were awake. In 1925 the temporary measure was made permanent.

Sadly, Willett never lived to see his campaign come to fruition as he died in 1915.

Do other countries change the clocks?

Around 70 countries around the world do, including much of Europe and North America, as well as parts of South America and Australasia. However, many countries in Africa and Asia situated around the equator do not change the time.

Daylight saving time in the USA does not apply to all states, including Arizona and Hawaii. Indiana only introduced daylight saving time in 2006.

In the United States, the clocks go back on 6 November 2022.

In March 2019, the European Parliament backed a proposal to end the practice of changing the clocks in European Union states. The proposal was originally meant to be introduced in 2021, but the amendment has not taken legal effect. EU states continue to use daylight saving time.

When will the clocks go forward?

A bit of a wait for that one, I'm afraid. It's not until Sunday, March 26, 2023.

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