Daylight Saving Bill

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Daylight Saving Bill is an article published in The Times on 17 june 1908.

Report of the speech at the Select Committee of the House of Commons on 16 june 1908 where Arthur Conan Doyle gave evidences in support of the Bill.

Daylight Saving Bill

The Times (17 june 1908, p. 7)

The Select Committee of the House of Commons heard some reasoned evidence, yesterday, in opposition to the Daylight Saving Bill from the London Stock Exchange, and in support of the Bill on the part of Sir Conan Doyle ; and also some other witnesses. SIR E. SASSOON presided.

Mr. E. Satterthwaite, Secretary, of the Stock Exchange, submitted a memorandum drawn up by the committee for general purposes, which stated that the Bill would inevitably create a dislocation of Stock Exchange business in the chief business centre of the world, and in all probability adversely affect the business of the provincial Exchanges. As London attracted business in American and South African securities from all parts of the Continent, and in American securities would, twice or more in each year, cause an alteration of British time, which would not be current in these countries, and to which their people would not be accustomed. This would inevitably cause irritation, and would tend to business being done direct with the country of origin of the stock to be dealt in, and consequently business would drift away from London. As far as the Western markets were concerned, the principal centre for Stock Exchange business was New York, and this formed a most important part of the business of the Stock Exchange. This business the Bill would throw out of gear during six months of the year, in five of which the two markets would not be open simultaneously. In times of crisis, such as occured last autumn, it was of urgent importance that the two Exchanges should be simultaneously open for at least some portion of the day. The amount of British capital invested in Western securities was enormous, and any alteration adversely affecting international dealings would be most detrimental, not only to those engaged in Stock Exchange business, but also to those members of the public who had investments or dealings in such securities. As giving an idea of the extent of the American business, he stated that the average number of cables received at the office of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, which with the Commercial Cable Company has direct access to the Stock Exchange, during the hours the New York Stock is open was 1,000, of which about half were sent or received between 3 and 4 o'clock, messages and their replies at times received in from one to three minutes. The effect of the Bill would be that a large proportion of members and their employés would have to be present one hour and 20 minutes earlier, and, in order to deal with the American business, to stay just as late as they do at present.

The CHAIRMAN. — Is it not odd that the London Stock Exchange should take a diametrically opposite view from that of the London Chamber of Commerce ? — We have written our memorandum in our own interests. Perhaps the London Chamber of Commerce have not thought about the matter very deeply.

In answer to further questions, the witness added that the Bill would encourage street trading after official hours of closing, which was undesirable and inconvenient.

Sir Conan Doyle said the Bill would, he thought, speaking generally, promote the health and happiness of the majority of the community, and he especially commended it in in interests of children. The next generation of Britons would be the better for having an extra hour of daylight, and the general standard of health and stature would be certainly increased. In a thousand ways it would make for good, and, as far as he could see, the objections which had been raised, however valid they might be, were still in a great minority to the points that might be put forward in favour of it. On the question of method, he thought a single alteration of an hour would cause less confusion and obtain almost the same result.

The other witnesses were Paul Hemelryk, vice-president of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce ; Mr. Dukinfield, vice-president of the Liverpool Cotton Broker's Association ; and the Rev. E. de M. Rudolf, secretary of the Church of England Society for Waifs and Strays.

The committee afterwards sat in private.