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SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL. 5
7 May, 1908.]
Mr. WILLETT, F.R.A.S.
commercial rival, has had municipal public clocks for many years past in every large town, Berlin having a particularly comprehensive system, every public clock being synchronised as a matter of course. The “Normal Zeit,” or Standard Time Company of Berlin, was entrusted by the Municipality with the task of providing an adequate public time service in the city. In 1905 the total number of that company's clocks in Berlin exceeded 6,000, and now, I believe, number more than 8,000, and they have given every satisfaction.” 25. Does that suggestion mean to indicate that a clock, say in this room, would be synchronised and adjusted by a master clock, say, two or three miles from here ?–That is a suggestion to meet the horological people's difficulty about the moving on of the clocks. 26. But unless you can prove that a clock here could be adjusted by some other timepiece somewhere else, I do not see how you can get over the difficulty ?—That is so; that is a fact, that it can be done. I will read you a passage here which explains how it is done. The lecture is entitled “The Time of a Great City: a plea for uniformity. The problem and the solution.” As I say, the lecture was delivered at a meeting of the United Wards Club of the City of London, on the 4th March, 1908, and there was a subsequent discussion.
27. Will copies be handed in 2—This is the only one I have here, but I shall be happy to furnish the Committee with copies.
28. You see the position. What we want to know is whether it would be possible to adjust the clocks in a house, or in any public place, automatically, so that it should not have to be done by anybody in the house itself, because they may forget. That, I understand, is the whole point of the lecture ?—I am only dealing with public clocks now. I do not regard the difficulty of moving the ordinary domestic clocks as anything at all; but there may be some little difficulty with regard to the public clocks. It is clear that if you want a public clock moved on in the early hours of the morning, at whatever time you may decide it shall be done, at 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 o'clock, it means a certain amount of labour; it is a small thing, but still it has to be done. But in view of the strong feeling that evidently exists—because the London County Council would not write to the Common Council of the City unless there was a feeling that something more should be done with regard to the City clocks than is being done, if the result of their decision be that the public clocks of London shall be electrically controlled, I submit that the difficulty of moving them on 20 minutes vanishes into thin air, because they will all be controlled by a master clock, at a certain station, wherever it may be, and the clocks will all move on by the movement of the master clock.
29. Is that what is done in Berlin 2–Yes. 30. All the public clocks in Berlin are controlled in that way?—Yes
31. It is purely a question of expense, is it not ? —It is a very small expense. If you read the lecture you will see that the expense is comparatively trifling. The Post Office, as you know, sends the correct time to anybody who wants it if they will pay something like £15 a year. Mr. Wynne in his lecture refers to that, and says that it is an extravagant demand—that they can do it for very much less.
32. Do you suggest that it would be practicable in connection with clocks in a private house ?– In my own office all my clocks are electrically controlled by a master clock in the office.
33. On the premises themselves?—Yes.
34. It could not be done by a master clock elsewhere ?–That is not done in my case, but it could be done by a master clock elsewhere.
35. Might:I ask, while we are on this subject, whether you can tell us what the cost of electrically synchronising the public clocks in Berlin is ?— I cannot tell you what the cost in Berlin is, but on the question of cost, I can give you some figures from this lecture. “The cost of Greenwich mean time signals and electrical synchronisation. From His Majesty's Post Office the public may obtain the hourly Greenwich mean time signal in London, and one or other of the two daily signals in the provinces, at a minimum charge of £15 per annum in London. . . The Post Office charges, in comparison with those of the company,” (that means the Standard Time Company in London) “are prohibitive. With the exception of some large turret clocks, requiring to be wound more than once per week, the company’s charge is little more than one-fifth of the Post Office minimum, and where more than one instrument is actuated in one building for one subscriber a reduction is made according to the number. A further important difference between the two services is that, in addition to connecting the subscriber's premises with the Company's overhead wires without cost to the subscriber, it supplies the necessary instruments, and attends to the winding and regulation of the synchronised clocks throughout the year without any further charge.”
36. Is that in London ?–Yes. “It is 30 years since the enterprise was started in London, and it seems that it was conceived at least 25 years before public opinion was able to grasp its utility. During this period (and this is one of the best of testimonies) the company has continued to supply the hourly Greenwich mean time signal” (this is very important) “to, with very few exceptions, all the chronometer and clock-makers, watchmakers and jewellers within the scope of its lines” (actually these horological people take their time from this Standard Time Company) “many of whom, by means of deflecting needles, bells or other indicators, show Greenwich mean time in their windows or shops. In addition to this 7 May, 1908.]
this, the company has also continued to synchronise the clocks of the great stock and commercial exchanges, Bankers’ Clearing House, banks, cable companies,” &c.
37. I want to get this quite clear. Do you consider that it is necessary to have a synchronisation of clocks in connection with this Bill ?— It is not necessary, but it would facilitate the alteration.
38. This synchronisation, you, no doubt, consider an expensive step to take 2–Rather more expensive than the present cost of winding.
39. If we do not synchronise the clocks, do you consider that the principles of the Saving of Daylight Bill fall to the ground 2—Absolutely no.
40. That is the whole point really. We are getting into the deep water of synchronising clocks, which is a very big question. As I understand, the Daylight Saving Bill before us is a Bill involving no cost either to the State or to the individual ?—That is so.
41. And perhaps some great benefit which you
are going to show us. But if you once touch the subject of synchronising, are you not touching upon a very big question ?—I would not have brought it forward if it had not been that the Chairman requested me to deal with that letter from the Horological Institute. They object to my proposal, because they say: “Make one alteration once and for ever, and never touch our clocks again.” And, in order to deal with that objection, I bring forward the extreme probability that before long there will be an electrical synchronisation of clocks.
I do not think it is necessary to go into that question much further. I do not quite agree with my honourable friend, because I think it is necessary to show the public that where large establishments are concerned it is practicable, if you wish to go to the expense.
42. Is it not a fact that on the Underground Railway the clocks are synchronised ?—I believe they are. 43. At the present time, is there not at all the Underground Railway Stations a clock marked “Synchronised by electricity every hour” 2– I believe it is so, but I could not say positively. We know, at all events, that a good many railway clocks are synchronised in that way. I say that where synchronisation exists, there is no difficulty in moving on the hands of a clock; and I say that synchronisation will exist much more largely in future than it does at the present time. 44. Then as regards Mr. Wright's letter, which has been put forward, he suggests first of all that we should adopt the Mid-European time for the whole year; that is one hour in advance of Greenwich or sun standard time 2—Yes. 45. You do not think that proposal gives the benefits that your proposal does 7–No. 46. Then his second proposal is that if that first proposal is not accepted we should adopt Mid-European time from the 31st of March to the
30th of September. Do you think that is as good as your proposal ?—I think it is a wise proposal, but not so wise as mine. 47. Have you prepared a table showing the difference between the Horological Journal’s proposal, Mr. Wright's proposal, and your proposal ?–No, but I will do so before the next meeting of the Committee. 48. I think it would be interesting and useful ? —Certainly. 49. Between your proposal and Mr. Wright's second proposal there is not very much difference; it is only a matter of detail?—That is all. 50. Mr. Wright's second proposal is your Bill with modifications ?—Yes.
51. You think, generally speaking, that the proposal of the Horological Society as regards the putting on of the clocks according to MidEuropean time is not quite so practicable or so expedient as yours ?—I do not, but I think that Mr. Wright, Mr. Chairman, should be asked to come and give his views.
52. Do you not consider that Mr. Wright's proposal has the signal merit that it prevents the necessity of having to tamper with clocks eight times during the year, as under your scheme * —Do you not appreciate the objection that I raised just now : that in mid-winter the sun would not rise until 10 minutes past 9 Do not you think that cuts away the ground entirely from under Mr. Wright's feet and the Horological Society's feet : Does anyone think it at all reasonable that we should so manipulate the clock that we should put up with more darkness in winter, than we have now in the early morning in winter ?
53. Not more darkness in the day ?—No ; no one can alter that.
54. We should have less darkness in the day ? —That depends upon when your day begins.
55. But a great many people's day does not begin till 9 o'clock 2–But the great majority of the people's day begins before 9 o'clock. The vast majority of working people have to go to work much earlier than 9 o'clock, and I think it is most unfair to them to suggest that daylight should not begin till somewhere about 9 o'clock in mid-winter. My view is that we would rather suffer deprivation of light at the end of the day in the winter and prefer it in the morning, if we are going to make an alteration.
56. How would the difficulty be met by having some sort of uniform alteration, say of 40 minutes? —In all that you are striving to go against nature. Nature has given you the difference, and you cannot help it. The earth at mid-winter is at one position on its journey, and at midsummer another. If you go from London to New York, or from London to Australia, you will find the time is different; the hours of the day there are different from the hours of the day at the port you have last '
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL. 7
Mr. WILLETT, F.R.A.s.
7 May, 1908.]
and consequently you will arrange your life to fit the arrangements which Nature has provided in those ports for the light of the day. The earth is practically a ship going through a sea of space, and we leave one port in December and get to quite a different port in June, where the conditions are entirely different; but we adopt, at present, the same arrangement throughout the whole journey right round the ellipse; and I submit that that is clearly a mistake; it must be uneconomical, and it is a mistake to make any permanent arrangement, because no castiron arrangement can fit nature's arrangements, which are entirely different at one part of the year from what they are at another part.
57. I should like clearly to understand, if it was agreed to make a tentative experiment, and it was found to be a failure, in your opinion would the results be very detrimental to resuming the old arrangement; would there be very much dislocation caused ?–If my scheme is adopted, we do resume the old arrangement at the end of September. We are at the end of September, where we shall be this September.
58. So that if it was decided to try it, as an experiment, the only thing practically that would have to be altered would be the Bill, you would have to make it apply for one year only ?—Yes, but then you immediately impart an element of doubt, and you cannot expect the House of Commons, I should think, to justify a Bill at all with an element of doubt in it, I hope that this Committee will be unanimous, by the time we have finished, that it will be a good thing.
59. I want to ask you a few questions. I am very sceptical indeed, I may tell you?—I am all the more pleased to reply. 60. I want to ask you first of all this question. There are certain hours of business, one may say, during which people spend their time in various activities and there are certain hours which are normally chosen for being in bed. Why do you think that people choose those particular hours. Your object is to change those hours ?–It is. 61. Your proposal practically comes to this: supposing we call the ordinary commercial day from 10 o'clock till 5 o'clock—that is the ordinary commercial day in the summer months ?—You might say from 9 to 6, I think. 62. Call it from 9 to 6 if you like, it is immaterial, what you really propose is to alter that to from 7.40 to 4.40 ?—No, I do not. 63. Excuse me, your proposal is exactly the same thing as if people agreed on the spot to open at 7.40 and close at 4.40 ?—I see what you mean, it is equivalent to that. 64. It is not using the same words, it is the same actual proposal ?—It is equivalent to it. 65. The actual effect by true time would be the same thing?—But there is no such thing as true time, because what is true time at Greenwich will not be true time at Penzance. 66. If a person who went to work should, instead of commencing at 9 and leaving off at
6, work from 7:40 to 4.40, his position as regards true time will be precisely the same 2—Yes. 67. That being so, if your proposal is a desirable one, why is it, do you suggest, that people do not voluntarily alter their hours, if the other hours are better?—Because the chains of custom and inclination are too strong for us. 68. You think it is impossible 2–Absolutely. 69. Why do you think the custom grew up ? —I will tell you why I think it grew up. I believe that up to the year 1540 there was no such thing as a clock which kept reasonably accurate time. Our forefathers did not go by clocks but by the sundial. There were no trains in those days. They regulated their day by the sun; they rose earlier and they retired earlier; if they took 8 hours' sleep they retired earlier. Even when clocks came into existence, for a great many years after that, still in country places their days were regulated by the sundial. The first clock was put up at Hampton Court in 1540, that is comparatively only a short time ago. Then about 100 years ago or more, railways came into existence and fixed time tables, and helped to fix us still more firmly in the system that applies to the winter half of the year the same time arrangement as applies for the summer half of the year, and I think it is probable that the coming into existence of railways has been a great factor in fixing our present habits. We have been compelled to fall in with the railway arrangements with regard to trains and so on. 70. Then railways really have been the principal factor in fixing these hours?—Yes. 71. By the time that railways first came into general use in this country, say 50 years ago? —100 years ago. 72. Railways 2–Yes, surely more than 50. (Chairman.) Let us split the difference, say 75. 73. I said since they came into general use. The railway system has not been established for more than 50 years—50 or 60. At that time the ordinary commercial hours were earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon than they are at present ?—You say so. 74. That is what I have always been told by my forebears—I think the Chairman will corroborate it—that business hours were rather earlier in the morning and later in the evening than they are now. (Chairman.) Do you mean the working time ! 75. I mean that ordinary commercial work began rather earlier in the morning and stopped rather later in the evening ?—They did not do so much in the time. 76. I did not say that they did 7–In my own business we used to commence, when I first came into it, at 6 in the morning and leave off at 5.30; now we commence at 6.30 and leave off at 5. 77. Then it was found convenient to cut a little bit off at both ends, rather than cut a little bit off in the afternoon, which is really your suggestion ?—I am not concerned with that ; it does not affect me. 78. But I want to suggest to you that the present hours have been more or less consciously or unconsciously adopted because they were in practice the convenient hours?—If you will qualify that by saying that they were the convenient 7 May, 1908.]
venient hours during the winter months, I will agree—during the six months we call the winter months. 79. You think it was because they were the convenient hours in winter, and that it was inconvenient to have different hours in winter and summer ?—Yes, because they got into the habit in the winter of rising at a certain hour, and we carried that habit on through the year. It is a question of habit. 80. You think it would be an advantage—you obviously do—to have more daylight on a summer's day? Assuming that 10 o’clock is the ordinary bed-time in summer, you think it will be an advantage to go to bed at 8.40 instead ? —No one goes to bed at 8.40, and no one will go to bed at 8.40. It is no good talking about that. If you go to Berlin, for example, you dośnot go to the host of your hotel and speak of German tyranny because he sends you to bed at 9 o'clock London time. You go to bed at 10 o’clock Berlin time. 81. I want to talk about this by true time 2– There is no such thing as true time. 82. Let me call it true time.
83. Mr. Holt asks you whether you think it advantageous for people generally to go to bed earlier ?–It is manifestly advantageous that you should have hours of darkness in which to sleep, rather than hours of light. I submit that most people sitting in this room were roused, probably, at 4 or 5 o'clock because the sun was up, and they would not sleep anyhour later.
84. You are taking exception to my talking of true time, but I think it is a convenient expression ?—Will you call it Greenwich time? 85. If you will allow me, I will call it true time for the moment—by which I mean “Greenwich time as used for the purposes of astronomy and navigation shall not be affected by this Act ’’’—Yes. 86. If a person's ordinary bed-time is 10 o’clock now, he would virtually, under this Act, be going to bed at 8.40 actual time?—What does he do when he goes to America? 87. Never mind about what happens in America, because true time is different there ?—Then take Bombay, it comes to the same thing. 88. He would virtually be in the same position as if he resolved to go to bed at 8.40?–Yes, they do it in Penzance, you know; they go to bed half an hour before what you call true time. 89. Do not you think that, for instance, in summer there is such a thing as too much daylight 2—Not in this country. I should like to have it. I have had too much daylight, but not in this country. £90. Where have you had too much daylight? —In India. 91. But the days are shorter ?–Yes, but you get too much sunlight. 92. Is it not a common experience in the hot weather in summer that the hours of twilight and early dark are extremely agreeable and pleasant to people—amongst the most pleasant in the day?
Although, as you say, in India you can have too much hot weather in the summer, it is a very frequent experience with all of us that we find the hours from 8 to 11 at night particularly agreeable and fresh 7–They are agreeable; but are they more agreeable than the early hours in the morning from 4 to 8? 93. If you take it earlier in the morning, then you are taking your whole 16 hours of activity in daylight 2–Yes. 94. And under the sun ?—Yes. 95. Is there not a real danger of the possibility that people cannot stand so much daylight 2– I think that is absolutely disproved by the agricultural population. The agricultural population of this country is a very large one, and, as we are all aware, they spend the whole of their working day in the daylight; but we regard them generally as samples of health, not as evidences of ill-health. Our hospitals are not filled with agricultural people; it is the town dwellers who fill the hospitals.
97. I want to ask you about this question of business connections with foreign parts, which you have already alluded to ; because we must not, I think, as practical people, count on other nations immediately adopting the same proposal; I do not think that is a reasonable calculation to make 2–I think it is a reasonable calculation to make, unless you call the Americans foolish. If it is a wise transaction the Americans are sharp enough to adopt it. If it is a foolish transaction, we shall drop it at once. 98. I do not know enough of the American constitution ; the whole thing might be unconstitutional. You cannot calculate upon the Americans doing it. You admit that it would be a great inconvenience for business people dealing with America, if Americans did not adopt the same plan 2–Yes, I do. 99. Knowing the character of the transactions that go on between this country and America, the business hours between three and five in the afternoon are practically essential for American transactions ?—They are chiefly speculation, are they not ? 100. No, they are not speculation at all. On the contrary, with many of them it is exactly the reverse; it is in order to put the transaction through in one day and avoid the risk of the market, which is the exact opposite to speculation, that they have those two hours between three and five, in which they can buy and sell in New York 2–They have. 101. If the Americans did not follow suit, you would admit that trades dealing with America would have to keep their offices open to the present time by true time 2—I do not think so. I think they would agree to shut at the proper time, and do all their business the next day. 102. You think they would be prepared to take the risk of what might happen next" day On 7 May, 1908.]
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL.
Mr. WILLETT, F.R.A.S.
on the New York market 2—I cannot answer that question.
103. It would be inconvenient 2–Yes.
104. I am well acquainted with a good many people dealing in cotton, and I cannot help thinking that they probably would object 2– Quite so; but the Cotton Market and the American branch of the Stock Exchange do not control the whole of this country; they are only a fraction.
105. It is not only the Cotton Market but the Grain Market 2—But still it is only a fraction of our commercial work. It is only a fraction of the total commercial population of this country.
Chairman. ; :
106. I think you may take it that it would very considerably trench upon the margin of time that there is for carrying through operations between this country and the whole of the West ? —Yes, but I said at the commencement that that is offset by the advantage to those who deal with the East.
107. Does it not also work in this way again : that America would have better advantages in dealing was us?—Yes.
108. It would give a longer period for Americans to receive our telegrams ?–Yes.
109. No. You said it would be set off by advantages to commerce dealing with the East ? —Yes. 110. You mentioned among other places Shanghai and Fremantle. Can you tell me what is the difference of time between London and Shanghai ?—I cannot for the moment. Take Bombay. 111. No, never mind Bombay; I want those particular places !—Then take Colombo or or Calcutta. 112. Well, take Bombay ?—The difference at Bombay is five hours. 113. Then Bombay is in the opposite direction to New York 2–Yes. 114. The Chairman will know better than I do, but I take it there are two hours in the early morning when you can deal with Bombay in the same day, and no doubt this would give them, instead of two hours, three hours and 20 minutes ? —Yes. 115. Do you think that our commerical relations with Bombay are quite such important matters as our commercial relations with the American continent 3-Seeing that Bombay and Calcutta are part of our own territory, I should think that our commerical relations with Bombay and Calcutta are most important—more important than those with America. 116. But the volume of trade with Bombay I do not think is anything like the volume of trade with America 2–But you must not take the volume of trade with Bombay alone; you must take the volume of trade with the East. M
117. You told me that you could not say what the difference of time was in Shanghai ?—No, I do not remember it. 118. I wanted to suggest that an hour and 20 minutes did not affect the problem there at all, the difference in time is so great that you would not get an advantage out of Shanghai ? —Probably not with Shanghai. ** 119. And I venture to suggest the same with regard to Australia ?—It would be so with regard to Sydney, but not with regard to Fremantle. We should not gain much with Sydney—it is 10 hours. 120. I would rather like to suggest that the trade with Fremantle is not very important ? —I agree. - 121. I do not think that Bombay and Fremantle combined could be set off against the inconveniences arising with regard to the American trade. I suggest that to you?—There is Egypt, you know. 122. But there the difference of time is so little that it does not much matter. The only other question I want to ask you is about continental business. Unless the near Continent followed suit and altered their time, the railway connections, and consequently the mails, would be very much upset, would it not ?—I do not think so. 123. Assuming that France or Germany or Holland, or all of them, decline to follow our example, I mean?—They would at first, of course. 124. Then if the French railway companies will not agree to alter their time tables, the English railway companies will have to alter the time tables of their trains in connection with the continental traffic 2–Yes. 125. The result of that will be that the mail communication from the Continent will all arrive an hour and 20 minutes later by nominal time than it does now 2–The mail communication will arrive an hour and 20 minutes later. 126. That might be rather inconvenient, might it not ?–Of course there are inconveniences, I have admitted that there are. You can get nothing in this world without paying for it, Th question is, is it worth the price ’ - 127. It is our business, as a Committee investigating this matter, to try and find out what the inconveniences are ?—Certainly. 128. I do not think you will take exception to my asking these questions, we have to weigh the thing in the balance 2–Certainly.
129. There are two points arising on a question that Mr. Holt has raised, which I should like to ask you about. First, about the trade with the East. You do not come here as a commercial man to give us evidence on the trade of the country and how it is affected by this matter?—No. 130. But is it your contention that if your proposed scheme does interfere in any way with the trade with America, the greater advantage that we get for the great mass of the people, overrides the slight inconvenience to a very large body of trade, but still a small proportion of the people of the country?—That is so. 131. And if that comparatively small proportion of the people of the country find that there is any 4 inconvenience