Memorial for William Willett
born summer 1856 - died spring 1915

“We live in deeds, not years;
In thoughts, not breaths,
In feelings, not in figures on a dial”
Philip James Bailey

It is said that the idea for daylight saving occurred to William Willet while he rode his horse one summer morning near his home and noticed how many of his neighbours’ blinds were still down. In 1907 he published the pamphlet “The Waste of Daylight”, outlining his proposals for adjusting clocks to increase daylight recreation hours in the summer.

He died of influenza a year before British Summer Time was adopted in the Summer Time Act 1916.

We propose a habitable sundial to commemorate the man, his acceptance that time is a construct that we can manipulate for society’s benefit and his tireless advocacy of his then radical idea. The concept of British Summer Time remains controversial, with some advocating its abolition and others campaigning for it to be adopted year round.

As a monument, our proposal acts as a reminder that the sun will rise and set and that however we choose to demarcate our sunlight hours, our deeds and ideas will be our memorial when we enter the eternal night.

Six time zones are marked on the inside of the pavilion.

The dial on the floor shows Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The lowest bench shows British Summer Time (BST).

The second bench measures the Summer Time proposed by Willett (WST) - 1 hour and 20 minutes ahead of BMT and 20 minutes ahead of BST. 

Markings on the walls of the pavilion show the incremental changes that Willett proposed between GMT and WST to ease the transition. These put the clock forward by 20 minutes on four consecutive Sundays in April and back again on four consecutive Sundays in September.

The shadow cast by the gnomon on the ground outside of pavilion measures out the lifetime of William Willett. There are only two point’s marked on the dial’s face: Sunrise on the day of Willett’s birth (10 August 1856) and sunset on the day of his death (4 March 1915).

The pavilion is formed of Portland stone - the outer shell of fossil-rich roach, the inner lining of whit bed, suitable for lettering. The paving is designed to match the internal shell lining. The shell is semi-loadbearing, with internal steel supports triangulated against the weathering steel gnomon.

Lime mortar joints are used throughout.

(a proposal by ehk! in collaboration with Workshop East)