At 1:00 am this morning, the clocks went forward an hour, thus the citizens of Britain lost an hour of precious sleep. But why do the clocks go forward and when did this tradition start?
There is no scientific reason for the clocks going forward. The idea first started because they thought that sleeping through daylight in summer was wasting the day.
The first person to come up with the idea of moving the time forward was Benjamin Franklin the legendary American political heavy weight. The man once joked that Parisians should be roused from sleep an hour earlier in the summer by the ringing of church bells and the firing of cannons in the street.
However, many people simply took this idea to be just that, and as such the thought died until being resurrected by New Zealander George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea to his government in 1895. He proposed that the clocks should go forward two hours every summer, but that failed.
The idea only gained steam when a builder named William Willett (who happens to be an ancestor of Chris Martin of Coldplay fame) campaigned in Britain to change the clocks. It is believed that he was deeply annoyed about having his golfing interrupted by the sun going down, and thus wanted to change the law to ensure there’d be more sunlight in the evening.
Unfortunately Willett didn’t manage to get the law changed, as he died of influenza in 1915, and besides it wasn’t golf that got people’s views to change but the World War. In 1916, the German army turned the clocks forward as a way of conserving energy and many European nations followed suit afterwards.
In the modern day, the EU commissioned a study which found that 84% of people in this little game felt that they would like it to discontinue. The EU has thus started a discussion about discontinuing the practice which has been backed by MEPs.