120 years after Benjamin Franklin wrote a a letter to the editors of the
Journal of Paris
Daylight Saving Time, or Summer Time as it is known in Britain, was proposed
by William Willett (1857 - 1915), who was a London builder living in Petts Wood
1907 Willett's circulated a pamphlet to many Members of Parliament, town
councils, businesses and other organisations, he outlined that for nearly half
the year the sun shines upon the land for several hours each day while we are
asleep, and is rapidly nearing the horizon, having already passed its western
limit, when we reach home from work before it is over.
His proposal was to improve health and happiness by advancing the clocks
twenty minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and by reversing this idea by
the same amount on four Sundays in September. He reckoned that it would not only
improve health and Happiness but it would save the country £2.5 million pounds,
that was also taking into account the loss of earnings to the producers of
Though the scheme was ridiculed and met with considerable opposition a
Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909, though it met with no success
before war broke out.
National daylight saving time was first put into practice by the German
government during the First World War. In an effort to conserve fuel
Germany and Austria began saving daylight at 11 p.m. on the 30th of April, 1916,
by advancing the the clock one hour until October 1, 1916.
Britain (UK) began 3 weeks later, on 21 May 1916. This was immediately
followed by other countries in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.
Sadly, William had died the previous year so never saw his idea put into