The sun sets over the Eastgate Clock in Chester.
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The sun sets on British Summer Time. Eastgate Clock, Chester
This ornate iron-work structure is the Eastgate Clock, built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. It would be another two years before it was officially opened, on the Queen’s 80th birthday, 27 May 1899. The Eastgate itself, a permanently open gate through Chester’s city walls, was built in 1768. But there has been a gateway on this spot since Roman times, when it was the entrance to the fortress of Deva Victrix.
For those reading this after 2am, today clocks “fall back” an hour as we switch from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time, ushering in lighter mornings but darker evenings and – for today at least – an extra hour in bed. These days many of us rely on digital clocks, and smartphones and laptops will adjust themselves to the new time. But ovens, car clocks and walls clocks will need winding back, if you want to be sure of being on time.
Which brings us back to that eye-catching clock in Chester. An electric mechanism was installed to replace the original wind-up mechanism in 1996. But up until 1974, the company that built the clock, J.B Joyce & Company, supplied a technician to travel to Chester each week, just to wind it. It makes winding clocks back an hour today look like a minor inconvenience.