Willett proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September.
Willett then spent the rest of his life trying to convince people his scheme was a good one. Sadly, he died of the flu in 1915 at the age of 58; a year before Germany adopted his clock-changing plan on April 30th, 1916 when the clocks were put forward at 11:00pm.
Britain followed suit a month later on May 21st.
By then Britain and Germany had been fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and a system that could take pressure off the economy was worth trying.
The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21st May 1916, was widely reported in the press.
Back then the hands on many of the clocks could not be turned back without breaking the mechanism.
Instead, owners had to put the clock forward by 11 hours when Summer Time came to an end on October 1st 2016.
The Home Office put out special posters telling people how to reset their clocks to GMT, and national newspapers also gave advice.
What’s the reason for turning the clocks back?
Supporters for the proposal argued that such a scheme could reduce domestic coal consumption and increase the supplies available for manufacturing and the war effort during the First World War.
The idea was not a new one, however. In 1895 an entomologist (or insect expert) in New Zealand, George Vernon Hudson, came up with the idea to the Wellington Philosophical Society outlining a daylight saving scheme which was trialled successfully in the country in 1927.
Willett, who died at his home near near Bromley in Kent, is commemorated for his efforts by a memorial sundial in nearby Petts Wood, set permanently to Daylight Saving Time.
The Daylight Inn in Petts Wood is named in his honour and there’s a road there called Willett Way.