Monday 4 September 2017

little ben or gmt +1

With its bigger, more famous big brother having gone silent for the next few years, perhaps residents are paying more notice to the clock tower’s commemorative copy on a traffic island by Vauxhall Bridge near Victoria Station.
The cast iron replica was first built in 1892 and subsequently de-commissioned, re-commissioned and moved venues several times. A rather unsettling design choice—especially for an already harried commuter rush to catch a train connection—is that the time-piece is permanently set to Day-Light Savings Time, so that for five months out of the year, it’s displaying the wrong hour. The original thought behind this rather baffling decision seems lost, but is now explained as a gesture of Franco-British solidarity, with a rhyming couplet titled Apology for Summer Time: “My hands you may retard or may advance / My heart beats true for England as well as France,” a reference to how it shows the correct continental time when it behind domestically during the winter months.