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Put the clocks forward - and find out why a horse rider is behind the spring time change

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

British summertime

Put the clocks forward

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Don't forget to put your clocks forward by one hour tonight to mark the start of British summertime.

It is now 114 years since the first 'Spring Forward' clock change.

The idea of British Summer Time (BST), also known as Daylight Saving Time, was first proposed in Britain by a keen horse-rider, William Willett, who was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer.

Though the sun had been up for hours during his rides through the local woods in Chislehurst and Petts Wood, people were still asleep in bed.

Willett published a pamphlet in 1907 called 'The Waste of Daylight' in which he hatched his plan to get people out of bed earlier in the summer by putting the clocks forward by an hour.

He spent the rest of his life fighting for his time-shifting scheme but he died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back BST.

However, the following year Germany introduced the system and Britain followed in May 1916.

Find out all about the clocks going forward from the Royal Museums, Greenwich

Meanwhile as the clocks go forward, fire chiefs at Gloucestershire County Council are issuing a reminder to people to check their smoke alarms.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging residents to ensure their families are safe and all the alarms are working as British Summer Time starts on Sunday.

A total of 211 people across the country died in fires in the home last year, and more than 70 per cent of those were not alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm – so it’s vital to test they are working regularly.

A working smoke alarm can buy families the time they need to get out, stay out and call 999, chief fire officer Stewart Edgar said.

He added: “Anyone can spot when a clock stops ticking, but it’s not so easy to be sure that your smoke alarm is still in working order.

“And as more than half of the people who died in home fires last year were 65 years old or above, this is also a perfect opportunity to test alarms for older relatives who might find it hard to reach their alarms but are at greater risk.”

Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “There’s no excuse not to have your smoke alarm tested regularly, and this is the opportunity to make sure your family is safe.”

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