At 2am on this last Sunday in October, clocks in the United Kingdom have been turned back by one hour, changing from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This means that the time in Kenya is once again three hours ahead of the UK.
While this gives Brits in the UK an extra hour’s sleep, the move also heralds the start of darker evenings.
Britain first adopted British Summer Time during the First World War in order to save fuel by reducing the need for artificial light.
While the idea was originally thought up by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, and in 1907, William Willett, a builder and great-great-grandfather to Coldplay’s Chris Martin, campaigned for the clocks to be turned back in a leaflet entitled ‘The Waste of Daylight’.
The clock change was eventually adopted in 1916 in a bid to save candles and coal during World War One, after Germany had already adopted the idea.
Studies suggest that if the UK were to abandon GMT, as some have argued for, it would save about 100 lives per year because the evenings would be lighter, helping prevent car accidents.
However, this would also delay sunrise until about 10am in Scotland during the darkest winter months, so there does not appear to be any chance of this changing in the near future.