Town's clock in winter time warp

THE clocks go back tomorrow - but one Suffolk town has been stuck in a winter time warp for the last week.Residents and visitors in Woodbridge may well have been ticked off for arriving at an appointment an hour late.

By Richard Smith

THE clocks go back tomorrow - but one Suffolk town has been stuck in a winter time warp for the last week.

Residents and visitors in Woodbridge may well have been ticked off for arriving at an appointment an hour late.

But they could offer a good excuse by pointing to the prominent clock on Shire Hall on the Market Hill, which switched to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) a week early.


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The anomaly also happened last year - and it will occur again next year if the clock's mechanism is not adjusted.

The problem is that the Shire Hall clock changes to winter time on the fourth weekend in October - but the clocks do not officially go back until tomorrow because there are five weekends in the month this year.

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British Summer Time (BST) used to always end on the fourth Sunday in October and time-keeping programmes nationally were programmed on that basis.

But a directive from the European Commission ruled BST would end on the fifth Sunday when October had five weekends.

Chris Walker, town council clerk, said: “The town of Woodbridge is leading the rest of the country.

“The reason for this is that the automatic mechanism on the clock is set to change the time on the fourth weekend in October, however there are five weekends in October this year.

“To prevent this occurring next year, work will be required to be done to the clock's mechanism as once again there will be five weekends in October.”

Edward Manson, a clock restorer for more than 40 years, has been established on the Market Hill in the shadow of the Shire Hall since 1984 and he looks at the clock as he walks into his shop.

He said: “I had not noticed that it was wrong - but I am not obsessed by good timekeeping. If the dial had disappeared then I would notice that, but I do not look at it when I am at work because I have too many clocks here.”

Kassie Norton, 25, a receptionist at the Bull Hotel, checks the Shire Hall clock to make sure she is arriving at work on time.

But this week it has shown 6am when she started the early morning shift at 7am. “According to the clock I have been getting here at 6am which is too early and when I worked here last year I noticed that the clock had gone wrong as well,” she said.

“But Woodbridge is thought of as a place with little quirks and this is another one of them and that gives the town character,” she said.

Her seat in the front window of the hotel gives her a prime view of the Shire Hall clock and she has to remind guests and visitors that it has been an hour slow.

n Don't forget - the clocks go back at 2am tomorrow.

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