History of time in the UK

Joseph S. Myers jsm28 at cam.ac.uk
Sat Feb 12 01:00:28 UTC 2000

I have attempted to turn the historical information on time in the UK,
given in the europe file, into a web page, which may now be found at


For the most part the information content is similar to that in the europe
file.  However, I have attempted to include long titles and date for all
Acts and Orders; details of those Channel Islands laws I have are
included; this history has been prepared with reference to copies of all
80 laws covered; I have attempted to clearly enumerate the probable gaps;
I have tried to indicate exactly what was stated and covered by each law,
and what powers were used; those orders that cannot be found simply by
reference to the annual published volumes are indicated as such; the
occasions of a start on Easter Day have been noted as such.  Some
commentary from the europe file is not included.

Additional to those laws listed in the europe file:

S.R.&O. 1921 No. 1276 (defining termination of WW1).
More careful details of what was happening under what powers in 1922.
tz's behaviour is correct, the comments misleading.
Expiring Laws Continuance Act (Northern Ireland), 1923.  The main Expiring
Laws Continuance Act, 1923 did not cover extending the Summer Time Act,
1922's validity in Northern Ireland.
Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts, 1939 and 1940 - more details.
Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland), 1954 - account of actual effect
from reference to the Act.
British Standard Time Act, 1968 - new analysis of the time at which it
came into effect (subject to proper verification when the relevant files
enter the Public Record Office and are opened under the 30 year rule, in
2002 or so).  Details of repeals, and what laws revived on its expiry,
with what amendment.
Summer Time Act 1972 - this consolidated previous laws without substantive
changes.  The changes dates already applied on expiry of the 1968 Act.
Interpretation Act 1978 - _does_ apply to Northern Ireland.
Application of modern orders to Isle of Man and Channel Islands - wording
quoted for 1994 starts in 1980.
European directives and their implementation - some require different end
dates for UK and Ireland, others permit them.  The 8th directive is
available online.

Joseph S. Myers
jsm28 at cam.ac.uk

More information about the tz mailing list