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SELECT COMMITTEE ON
THE DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL. 3.5
19 May, 1908.]
but I do not know how far their power extends in forcing such hours on the public generally.
654. What is the difference between sidereal time and Greenwich time. Is it a fixed, or is it an arbitrary and a shifting standard ?–Sidereal time gains four minutes on mean time every 24 hours. 655. Now do you consider that the Astronomical Theorems would in any way be affected in regard to the practical application and arrangements of every day by this Bill ?— I do not think it would produce any effect. 656. As regards navigation ?–Of course we have already excluded navigation, by saying that the standard time should be followed, or that Greenwich time is to be followed as it is at present all over the world. 657. So that no inconvenience could accrue, unless some mistake were made 2–I do not think any considerable inconvenience could accrue. 658. No inconvenience can possibly accrue, unless some mistake is made as regards the confusion between the contemplated time and the standard time 2–Yes, that is so. 659. With regard to the question put to you by Mr. Holt, that some kind of arrangement might be made without resorting to legislation as regards lengthening the hours of daylight, do not you think that past experience has shown that no universal consensus of opinion could be obtained on a matter of this sort without resorting to legislation—take Sunday hours— take bank holidays ?–Yes. 660. In both those cases it was found absolutely imperative to have recourse to legislative methods, in order to obtain universal application to institutions. Is not that so?—I am sure it 1S. 661. You do not consider it likely that without legislation any alteration affecting large institutions could possibly be obtained ?–No, that I feel quite sure of. It could not be done without legislation.
662. That is the very question I was about to ask. Sir Walter Nugent is not quite sure (I think I am) of your view that if we had an “hour ’’ permanent alteration all through the year, why you think it would be practically doing away with the Greenwich meridian 2–It would be quite futile, because it does not really touch any of the difficulties that Mr. Willett's scheme is calculated to remove. 663. I know that, but you notice that if we were to adopt Berlin time—that is to say, one hour only —that would shift our noon—or not “noon,” but the hour of 12 o'clock to one o'clock 2– Of course it would. 664. Now you gather what I mean 2–Yes. 665. What I mean is, that such an alteration as that would be adopting for England Berlin time, and would, so to speak, put an end to our
use of Greenwich time altogether ?—Of course it would.
Sir Walter Nugent.
666. You do take that view 2–Yes, I do. 667. You did not say that to me?—I am afraid I could not have quite apprehended. I certainly do take that view. 668. You see the view I put to you was that this question of not using more of the daylight in summer is purely the result of habit and custom, and if you alter the clock (one hour, or whatever it is), the habits and customs of the people would very soon adapt themselves. To shorten daylight in winter without moving the clock backward or forward 2– I think the possible alteration of the whole hour, such as is described as being perpetual, would really be of no use whatever. 669. Do you think it would make any difference as regards changing the meridian 2–The meridian of Greenwich would still be the fundamental meridian for standard time, but it would be different for British time. 670. I do not see how it would 2—When the sun is on the meridian at Greenwich in summer, it would be one o'clock, if such a change were made. 671. How would making a single change affect it any more than making it a double change 2– The change proposed now would not alter the meridian, because for all purposes, where the meridian of Greenwich comes in at all, it is proposed to retain standard time, so that these changes, such as Mr. Willett's scheme, or others that have been mentioned as far as I understand, are merely for having a local time for the convenience of the country—standard Greenwich mean time for our ships, and for the ships of all the world. 672. Quite right. If by making the change in the summer and the winter, you say it would be only adapting it locally. If you only made it once in the summer and let it stand all the year round, it would be the same thing so far as it affected the basis of time on the meridian, 12 o'clock 7–Of course, if we altered it, say to Berlin time, the sun would always come on the meridian at one o’clock. 673. We will not mention Berlin time 2–If the meridian from which our time is taken were shifted an hour eastward it would make the sun come on the meridian here at one o’clock instead of 12. 674. It would make really no difference, so far as the meridian is concerned, whether it was done at once, or on the other principle 2—The meridian of Greenwich is unaltered of course.
675. I should like to have that point clear. The summer daylight that we are thinking of is about four months out of the 122—Yes.
676. And to make a change of one hour for the sake of four months, to extend all through the other eight months, to which it does not naturally apply, is a thing which, as I understand, you think would be futile 2–It would be quite futile. That is my view.
(The Witness withdrew.) 7+ 677. You
677. You are His Majesty's Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope?—I have been; I have retired.
678. Formerly you were. Do you hold any appointment now 2–No, I have retired. 679. Since when ?–Since February of last year. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Society, President of the British Association, and a member of most of the principal European and American academies of science. 680. Have you any special experience in connection with the shifting of clock time 2–Very extensive,—I suppose much more than most people. May I say a word : 681. Certainly ?—I think, Sir, if you will allow me, a great deal of the difficulty which arises apparently in the minds of the Committee and of the public, is a misunderstanding as to what time is. For example, Mr. Willett, in a letter to the “Times” this morning, says that I mistake altogether the object of the Bill. It is not to make people get up earlier in the morning, but to save daylight. Now if you shift the time of a clock—change, what somebody calls “a quaint expression ” on my part, the origin of time in the way proposed, you are going to make them get up earlier in the summer, and keep the normal hours in the winter. There can be no question about that, and the great question before us and before the Committee is first of all :—Are people to be cheated into getting up earlier in the morning, or are they to get up honestly earlier ? That is the whole story. Now, as it is, we grant— as I am quite prepared to grant—that it would be a very good thing if men did get up earlier in the morning, and so secure the benefit of longer daylight. There are a great many people who would not, however, and of course we have arrived practically at our present hours of getting up and going to bed by convenience; but there are people who seem to think that you must go to the office at 10 o'clock, or if you are a workman, you must go o work at six or seven, or whatever it may be—that is not really the case. The simple cure appears to me to be this; you have either to get a consensus of opinion or legislation, by which the hours shall be made earlier in summer than they are in winter, and I wish, publicly, as one who had had more experience than almost anyone else on the shifting of time, to state that when you do shift the clocks at any particular epoch, you create for a day or two a terrible amount of confusion, notwithstanding the utmost care that is taken in the way of preparation. For example, at the Cape we circularised all the Magistrates, all the leading people, all the clergymen. In 1892 it was announced in every church that the following Sunday there would be a 16 minutes' change, and then, 11 years later, that there would be a further half hour change; and, as I pointed out in my letter to the “Times,” notwithstanding all the care of preparation there described, there was on both occasions a fearful hullabaloo, people were late for trains, and so forth. Well, now imagine what it would be if eight times a year this sort of business were to go on. I give you special evidence upon that, because no one has had as much experience as myself on the
subject, and I tell you honestly, that when Mr. Willett's scheme was first brought before me, I paid no attention to the letters, because I thought that they really could not be written by anyone of importance, or who had thought much of the subject, or that they must have been written by somebody who did not know much about the subject. I am sorry to say that ; and it was not until I saw that the matter had been seriously taken up in Parliament that my attention was called to it, and I wrote a letter to the “Times”— that is the long and the short of it. I think Mr. Willett is so very persistent, that he has got hold of my friend Sir Robert Ball, and rather bamboozled him. 682. I think, Sir David, you had better confine yourself to opinions that are not personal 4Very well; I think if Sir Robert Ball was asked the simple question whether it would not be simpler if a consensus of opinion could be arrived at about starting work earlier in the morning in the summer season, without shifting the clock, he would agree that it was a simpler and more practical plan. For my part, I feel certain that it would be ; but if you say that it is impossible to do it by arrangement, of course it could only probably be done by Act of Parliament But Acts of Parliament follow generally the desire of the public, and if the public would request it, and if the matter is brought before the public, probably sufficient influence would be brought forward to bring such a change about, and make it a possibility for an Act of Parliament to be passed. 683. I would like to ask you whether the circulars to which you have alluded as having been sent out at the Cape were the outcome of legislation, or the initiative of any head of a Department 2–It was the outcome of legislation; but, of course, there was a great deal of preliminary discussion—correspondence in the newspapers, and so forth—and Ministers offered to pay my expenses to travel to different centres, and to teach the doctrine of the new time, and what its results would be, and so forth. 684. Was it to be a permanent arrangement ?-That was then, of course, a permanent arrangement. It was a permanent shift of the origin of the civil or legal time of the colony: 685. May we take it that it has since been satisfactorily established ?–It was established from the moment. There was an Act of Parliament passed, and people saw that it was a practicable thing. 686. I thought you said just now it created so much confusion ?—Naturally it created confusion for a few days. 687. That is obviously inherent in any alteration ?–But the present Bill proposes to make an alteration eight times in the year. 688. May we take it that you are irrevocably opposed to any piecemeal alteration of the clock # —Yes, or any alteration of the clock at all. I think there is no necessity to alter the clock at all, but simply to state that the business hours will be nine instead of ten, and so forth; and you will find here in this publication of Mr. Willett's an an admirable instance of what was done by Messrs. Crosfield: “My firm, Joseph Crosfield and Sons, Ltd., Warrington, most cordially welcome Mr. Willett's proposal; indeed, we have done something in that direction already. Our office hours formerly were from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., with the usual hour for lunch. A few summers ago we arranged to open the office at 8.30 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., in order to give the staff (over 100 in number) as long a summer evening as possible. This arrangement was only intended for the summer months, but, at the urgent request of the staff, it was made permanent.” 689. Surely all that comes back to the question which I put to Sir Robert Ball just now—whether it would be possible to obtain a universal adherence to any scheme of this sort without legislation ?– No ; but, then, if the same amount of energy as Mr. Willett has exhibited in promoting this particular Bill were put forward so as to create public opinion upon the subject, legislation then might follow upon lines that people would recognise; but I assure you that I have met hundreds of thinking men who have said they were so glad to see my letter in the “Times” opposing (what they called) “this wild-cat scheme.”
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL. 37 19 May, 1908.] Sir DAVID GILL, K.C.B., F.R.S., LL.D., D.Sc. [Continued. Chairman—continued. Mr. Holt—continued.
690. I think you had two alterations of time at the Cape 2—Yes; we first altered it an hour and a half, because Ministers were afraid to alter it three-quarters of an hour. They altered it 16 minutes in the first place—that is to say, to suit the middle meridian of Cape Colony, which was very nearly an hour and a half east of Greenwich. Then, later on, when all the railway systems throughout the Colony united in 1903, after the war, the people of the Transvaal and Natal naturally said: There is an international agreement by which the railway times throughout the country shall be at even hours east or west of Greenwich. Our natural meridian is much nearer to two hours than to one, and one and a half has no international agreement; why shall we not adopt two hours?—and I strongly urged two hours originally, and it was adopted, and has been carried. 691. So you have had two experiences 2–I have had two experiences of this kind. 692. And has the second caused much more confusion than the first 2–Oh, much more, because it is a bigger change. 693. And, of course, it has had the object of avoiding confusion altogether—theoretically ?— Yes, theoretically. 694. I want to ask you another question. You have just read to us out of a book the example of a firm who voluntarily altered their hours from 9 a.m. to 8.30 ?–Yes. 695. And, as far as you know and can see, there is no reason apparently why everybody else should not do the same thing, if they wished to do so 2-No, not in the least. 696. In fact, I know in my own experience there are many firms who do carry on business at different hours ?–Yes. 697. And you probably realise that a great
deal of business in this country is done with the United States of America ?—Yes. 698. And you, of course, also see that there are only certain hours in the day during which it is possible to do business with America on the same day?–Cable business—exactly—obviously. 699. Now I think I am not stating it wrongly if I say that those hours are between 3 and 5 p.m. ? —Roughly, about that. 700. Roughly speaking ?—Yes. 701. Now if you were to alter the clock here, in the way proposed, it is quite clear that those hours in the summer would be practically extinguished, unless the Americans did the same thing—that is to say, five is the closing hour, and you would under this Bill close at 3.40 ?— Yes, probably that would be so; but those are questions that can only be settled by experience. 702. Under the Bill, you would close at 3.40 in the summer if you kept the same nominal hours ?—Yes. 703. Therefore the whole prospect of doing business with America on the same day, without risking the fluctuations of the market, would disappear, unless the people kept their offices open longer than the nominal hours ?—That is so. 704. Unless they kept their offices longer open than the nominal hours, the whole object of the Bill would be defeated ?–Apparently— certainly so. 705. Therefore the efficacy of the proposal entirely depends, not upon the legislation, as you put it, at all, but upon people actually accepting it ; because, after the Bill is passed, there is nothing to affect anybody making their office hours anything they please ?–Quite so. 706. And if they made their office hours start an hour later and end an hour later than at present, the whole Bill would be waste paper?—Absolutely. 707. And at the same time it is equally possible for them to make the object of the Bill effective under the present state of things by altering their hours?—Exactly—certainly so. 708. In fact, I put it to you that this proposal of getting people up earlier in the summer can have no efficacy at all unless people agree to do it? —Certainly. 709. Whatever the law said, that would be so 2—You may make clocks the origin of time, but people can fix their hours at what they please. 710. If they do not choose to keep the same nominal hours after you have altered the clocks, the whole object of the Bill is defeated ?– Certainly. 711. And really the possibility of carrying out this alleged reform respecting getting up earlier in the morning will depend upon the general mass of people being willing to do it?—Certainly. 712. And nothing else?–And nothing else. 713. You, therefore, probably agree with me that if this is to be effected, it can only be done by obtaining a general consensus of public opinion ? —That is so. 714. Legislation—unless it may be necessary with regard to banking hours themselves—has nothing to do with the point; it is really a waste of time 3–The only thing to be said in that way - would
would be that people are very stupid, and have got a wrong idea. “The public,” some wise man once said, “is an ass”; they get into the habit of observing certain hours. It may be so, but ultimately there is nothing at all to alter the hours. If you change the time half an hour forward, people will suit their office hours to it, in a great many cases, by putting their time back, and so on.
715. I suppose you are aware that it is not the offices that run the country. It is not the question of office hours that is going to benefit the majority of people in this country?—The majority of people—oh, no—not the office system. I understand absolutely that the great majority of the people are working-men. 716. That is the point, and if it is possible that we can get them up earlier in the morning, they will use less artificial light 2-Absolutely. 717. And more, it would add to their health and longevity?—Yes. 718. Of course, you are aware that in the factories the hours are regulated by Act of Parliament for women and children ?—I am not aware of that. 719. Yes; certain hours they will not allow them to work beyond 2–Nominal hours ? 720. They will not allow them to work beyond 7 —A certain number of hours you mean? 721. A certain number of hours, and up to a certain time; in fact, they must be “out ’’ before a certain time—in other words, they will not allow them to work overtime 2—Well, how does that affect the question of this Bill? 722. I think it does, because it is a question of daylight?—The whole question is connected with time. Of course, that might not be effective with this new Bill. That is a possible difficulty that I had not considered, because I did not knowit. 723. Then, again, when you say, “If you could only get people to agree ’’—well, as regards getting people to agree, I think the House of Commons can generally read public opinion better than individuals playing off their own bat. This large concourse of working-class people —no less than 15 millions—ought to be considered ?–Most clearly. 724. And, as a consequence, it is desirable if you can to make a “regulation ” breakfast houror, I should say, a “regulation” dinner hour. A woman with a big family, who is the only servant in the house, must be considered; she cannot employ others; she does not want to have to get four or five dinners in the middle of the day; the children coming home from school, the father coming home from the works, one girl coming home from one factory, and one from another. I want to say from my experience that our hours are regulated very largely by our family requirements. We have had an instance of employers who have attempted to put our hours back, and we have threatened to come out on strike rather than have our family dinner hour upset; but do not you think that if you could lead public opinion on to start work earlier in the morning and have an earlier dinner hour it would
be better for the whole of the working-class population ?–Probably it would, and there is nothing to prevent it under the existing state of affairs. 725. My friend, Mr. Holt, mentioned banks. Well, we do not deal with banks—public-houses have more to do with us, keeping open so late at night. There, again, they would be induced, probably by the fact of Parliament assisting them, to close earlier ?—There is nothing to prevent an Act of Parliament making it earlier. 726. Then you say that in Cape Colony you had two changes 2–We had two changes. 727. Permanent changes 4–Permanent changes of the clock—one in 1892, and one in 1903.
728. It took ten years to do it?—Eleven years between the two. The one arose at the time when the railway from Port Elizabeth was united with the railway from Cape Town, and the other after the war was finished, when the whole of the South African system was united.
729. Which created a little confusion for the time being ?—For the time being—for a day or two, or three; but you propose to change every week.
730. Just about as much confusion as is found on a Good Friday morning when some of our operatives want a drink and cannot get one 2– I have not much experience of that.
731. When you mix with people you hear people say, “This is very, very awkward,” and so on; but I do not know whether it is going to upset business?—People will have by the proposed Bill immense confusion, and there is no need for it, because you can have a much simpler plan.
Sir Walter Nugent.
732. I understand that you are opposed to tampering with the clock in any way?—Certainly, there is no need for it. 733. Suppose you had to choose between what you considered two evils—one of them the making one change of the clock by putting it back an hour permanently ?—That would be of no use, because if you put the clock back for an hour permanently you would make most uncomfortable hours in the winter. 734. Do not you think it is merely a matter of habit and custom; the matter of people adapting themselves to shorter hours and short days in the winter. You have already told us that it is simply a matter of custom having your dinner at a certain time, and that it is no use one body of men making the change if others do not. It is no use, for instance, for the Stock Exchange to start earlier in the morning if the banks are closed ?–Your question says, “Do you think it is any use to make one shift of an hour?” What is the object of that ? 735. Basing it on daylight in summer instead of winter ?–Do you mean one shift for good : 736. One shift for good—exactly?—And that we are not to change in the winter or the summer ? 737. Basing it on the amount of daylight that we have in summer ?—That does not “fit ’’ the
case at all. To make an alteration of the hours of work in summer, you do not require to alter them in winter for that purpose. 738. Did you find in South Africa, when you were a long distance from a railway, that they really did make the change 2 They had what they called “sun time,” which was quite a different thing from railway time 2—Oh, no ! even at a long distance from the railway; men have had to catch trains. A great many of the Boer farmers have not clocks at all; they work away; they all start at sun time and shift it about in some way; they know how many hours it takes to get to the station; they guess it, and wait half an hour or so to be sure of being in time. 739. There is no such thing as “sun time ’’?–No, there is no such thing as “sun time”, of course there is what the astronomer knows as “apparent time” or “apparent noon.” 740. In the west and south of America, they undoubtedly make changes to meet the longer day in summer and pay no attention whatsoever to time in the towns ?—I think probably the Boer farmer gets up in the morning and turns his “blacks” out when he thinks they ought to go, and they come back at sunset. I dare say that is the case. There are no “work hours ” there. 741. So that they really do there for themselves what it is proposed to do now by statute. Where they are not hampered by railways or modern customs they adopt their own ways 2–I do not know that there is any one rule about it. They are a very haphazard kind of people generally, and they will do anything. The only objection I ever heard was that when we shifted the time first of all there was an old gentleman who would always come into church a quarter of an hour late, because he declared it was God's time and not the other, the curious thing being that the new shift of time was more nearly that of the meridian of his church. 742. They really adopted “sun time " ?— Absolutely. I mean of course the people who have not clocks.
743. I think we are agreed that it is better to use the summer daylight if we can 2–I think most people would agree to that. I do not do it myself, but I think I may agree with it. 744. Then it is only a question of how to do it? —Only a question of how to do it. 745. I understand you agree that the use of the Greenwich meridian may be adhered to in this country?—I certainly think that. 746. Now as to the mode of doing it—getting the people to use the summer daylight more— do you recognise that the law books are full of statutes regulating the nominal time of various kinds of trade transactions, for factories, public houses, banks, railways, and that a great mass of legislation is full of nominal time, do you recognise that ?—I suppose so, nearly all with reference to “noon,” which is not to be altered. 747. Of course “noon ” is “meridian.” “Noon ” is not so much of the clock at all. You do not call 12 o'clock Greenwich “noon time ’’ except by putting the two together ?—Do not all
the law books talk of “noon ” on a certain day ? 748. When they do, they refer to the time of the clock which is nearest to “noon”, for instance, if we say “11 o'clock in the forenoon ’’ or, “12 o'clock at noon,” we do not mean “noon,” but simply “12 o'clock at noon.” I will make it clear in this way. With regard to the “sun time,” noon time is fifteen minutes ahead of the clock and 15 minutes behind the clock in the course of the year ?—Yes, in the course of the year. 749. By “noon time” we mean “sun time,” I mean in the law 2–Do you mean “sun time ’’ in the law : 750. Yes, when an Act of Parliament speaks of nominal time 2—These are legal questions, on which I am not competent to give an opinion. 751. I want to ask your opinion about it. When an Act of Parliament says you shall open at 8 o’clock in the morning and close at 8 o’clock at night, that is by the clock 2–Yes, I suppose so. 752. You will take it from me that there are a great multitude of that sort of cases in the law books ?—Yes. 753. Now as to the mode of doing it, is it better to pass an Act of Parliament, or a great many Acts of Parliament, that all these times shall be altered in the summer, or is it better by one short Act like this to bring all these things into regulation ?—But the times are here, and why change them. 754. I am asking you which you suppose is the better mode of doing it. We are aiming at the same thing, we are aiming at using summer daylight. Now, would you alter by Act of Parliament all the times of factories, public houses, theatres, and all the other places that are regulated by clock time—by an Act of Parliament drawn like this, or by an Act of Parliament applying to every particular industry throughout the country?—I would not alter the clock on any account whatever, for fear of making horrible confusion. 755. Surely the clock is only an instrument ? —It is far from being only an instrument. If you are regulating everything by the clock, then by shifting the clock time about you are making confusion. 756. I rather gathered, from what you said just now, that there was no occasion to regulate our action by the clock 2–When did I say that. 757. I understood you to say so in answer to Mr. Holt 2—Whenever did I say so; there is no necessity to alter the clock. 758. You said there was no necessity to regulate action by the clock. We could all get up earlier
in the summer if we chose ?—Exactly, but not
alter the clock. 759. Now as to the best mode of expressing common opinion, and so on ; as regards these 15 million men that Mr. Richards spoke of, is not an Act of Parliament the best mode of expressing a common agreement ?–Yes, but an Act of Parliament should not be made without the consent of the people to it. 760. We are not suggesting that that should be done. An Act of Parliament cannot be made without the consent of the people in this country, whatever