April 6, 1915 – Uproar over plans to change the clocks for the very first time

Trade is dominating the Market Harborough Advertiser of April 6, 1915, and in particular, the thorny issue of what became known as Daylight Saving Time (DST), or more commonly today ‘changing the clocks’.

DST had first been proposed many years before the war but never enacted as law. In a Letter to the Editor one tradesman complains that the lack of DST is causing problems for many of the town’s shopkeepers.

“The shopkeeper and his assistants have no chance to enjoy the summer evenings until an absurdly late hour,” writes the correspondent. “Shops are now supposed to close at 7 o’ clock with the exception of Thursdays and Saturdays. This means the poor shopkeeper seldom gets away until 7.30 when his opportunity for recreation is very limited indeed. The situation applies with equal force as regards the assistants.”

It seems a little ironic that this issue is so prominent when in last week’s Advertiser the focus was on the terrible carnage of war and the need for more young men in the district to join up.

DST was in fact introduced in 1916 but in light of the current situation, the correspondent’s answer to this vexed question is simple. “If all the shopkeepers in the town united to open their premises at 7.30 – even 7 o’ clock if you like – and close at 6.30 or 6 o’ clock, the public would not be inconvenienced in the slightest. It would only mean if they had any shopping to do they would get it done earlier.”

Elsewhere in the paper, tradesmen are continuing to use the newspaper as a vehicle for promoting their products – and what a wide array there is.


Geo Green and Co in the High Street and St Mary’s Road are gearing up for Lent with Bibles, books for confirmation, Holy Communion Books and even Easter postcards all for sale.

Eady & Dulley Ltd are promoting the benefits of India Pale as ‘pure, brilliant, healthful’ and, perhaps a little boastfully, the ‘finest ale in the world’.

The County Electric Palace in The Square has ‘special Easter attractions’ to draw in the twice-nightly crowds. Showing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is Loved and Lost, ‘unquestionably one of the most beautiful and brilliant products of dramatic genius’ and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, ‘the greatest novelist of all times’.

And the Public baths on Northampton Road are advertising their opening times – not mixed of course. For instance, on Mondays, Ladies were permitted from 6am to 1pm and Gentlemen from 4.30pm to 9pm.


Prices were 6d for first class (two towels free), 4d for second class (one towel free) and 2d for third class (presumably no towels available).

There was one session available for ‘family bathing’ from 1pm-4pm on Mondays.

“Parties desiring sole use of the bath must give due notice to the Caretaker. Any two or more families may combine and use the bath jointly. Terms: 5s per hour for a party not exceeding 10; over 10, 6d per head.”

A forerunner, perhaps, of today’s ubiquitous ‘swimming parties’?

  • Check out this week’s Harborough Mail for current news from the Market Harborough area.
  • My fellow researcher and De Montfort University colleague David Penman is conducting a similar real-time project with the Ashbourne Telegraph. Check out his Great War Reports.

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