Summer time and double summer time in the UK, 1940-6

Joseph S. Myers jsm28 at
Thu Aug 10 17:06:37 UTC 2000

I may have mentioned before that the records of summer time in the UK from
1940 to 1946 in the Public Record Office were subject to a 100 year
extended closure period.  After I requested the Home Office to review this
extended closure period in February, they concluded after three months
that the records could be opened to the public in their entirety (rather
than needing to wait until 2047), and after a further three months for the
administrative procedure of actually opening them, they recently became
available.  I examined them (HO 144/22703 and HO 144/22704) yesterday.

They serve to confuse the question of whether the double summer time
applied was BDST or DBST; both appear in the records, so Howse's DBST
needn't be a typo.  On 18th April 1941, Sir Stephen Tallents of the BBC
wrote to Sir Alexander Maxwell of the Home Office asking whether there was
any official designation; the reply of the 21st was that there wasn't but
he couldn't think of anything better than the "Double British Summer
Time" that the BBC had been using informally.  I've put a copy of the Home
Office letter at and the
BBC letter may follow if I get permission from the BBC.

The files contain many objections from irate clergymen to the start of
double summer time on Easter Sunday in 1942; one entitled
"Pilate---Pharaoh---1942" referring to "Scripture history is being
repeated this year through decisions of the Government"; another to "the
tyrants of Whitehall, who probably never attend church, & even possibly
have never heard of Easter".  There are also many newspaper clippings
(mainly from Scottish papers) objecting to double summer time in general.

Joseph S. Myers
jsm28 at

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