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Time for a time change? It’s complicated at Buckingham Palace


Where I live is one of the few places in the world where people will not be rolling back their clocks this fall. And for the rest of you, depending on where you live, it takes place on either the last Sunday of October or the first Sunday of November.

The practice was initiated during World War I, to add an extra hour of daylight as a way of reducing energy costs.

In the US, it only lasted about a year and a half. But then was reintroduced during World War II, for the same reason, and referred to as ‘War Time’. And though it officially ended after the war, several states continued the practice, causing all sorts of confusion.

In 1966, the US congress passed a law mandating daylight savings time for all states, resulting in time changing on the last Sunday in April and last Sunday in October, which is how most of the world functions. But the US later revised it to the second Sunday of March and first Sunday of November.

In England the time changes this weekend, Oct 31, 2021.

The Daily Mail reports, that it takes a full weekend for Queen Elizabeth’s staff to turn back the time on the 1,500 clocks in Her Majesties’ various properties, including 600 at the Queen’s residence in London (Buckingham Palace) and 400 at Windsor Palace.

Most are vintage wind up clocks and while moving the time one-hour ahead in the spring is no problem, it is a bit more complicated rolling it back one hour and of course, each clock operates differently.

The Queen even has an official Horological Conservator who is both responsible for maintaining the clocks, performing their weekly wind up and changing the times, twice a year.

The Horological Conservator told the Daily Mail:

Just like a car that needs an MOT every now and then a clock will need a service every couple of years, twice a year we have the clock change. 

In summer the clocks go forward and hour in winter they go backwards. When we set the clocks backwards in winter it’s a different process for every clock, in summer it’s much easier because every clock just goes forward one hour and each time it takes me about a weekend to set all the clocks to the right time.’  

READ: The Royal family offer a peek inside Windsor Castle as their resident clockmaker spends an entire weekend turning the estate’s stunning 1,500 timepieces back

Below is a video of Windsor Palace, at any point you can click on the screen and rotate the view:

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