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History from Hansard—II: Daylight Saving

Ann Dewar looks back at the Parliamentary debate over the introduction of Daylight Saving Hours, tabled in 1916 by Sir Henry Norman.

Portrait of Sir Henry Norman, 1st BaronetSo far as can be discovered, the proposal to save daylight, ardently advocated by Mr. William Willett, was originally mentioned in Parliament on February 4, 1908. Earlier, it was not a practical suggestion, since other social reforms, such as the shortening of the hours of. labour, were first required to give the notion of leisure some meaning for workingmen.

Eight years went by, and then on May 8, 1916, Sir Henry Norman rose in the House and said: “I beg to move ‘That, in view especially of the economy in fuel and its transport that would be effected by shortening the hours of artificial lighting, this House would welcome a measure for the advancement of clock time by one hour during the summer months of this year.’” Sir Henry explained that his proposal suffered from two great disadvantages.

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