Articles

Historians say date of August Bank Holiday needs to be reviewed 45 years after it was changed

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2016 by kmflett

London Socialist Historians Group

Press Release 2nd August

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Historians say date of August Bank Holiday needs to be reviewed 45 years after it was changed.

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The London Socialist Historians Group who organise the socialist history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in central London have said that it may be time to take another look at the date of the August Bank Holiday.

The August Bank Holiday was set as the first Monday of the month by the 1871 Bank Holidays Act and only changed for an experimental period to the last Monday of the month in 1965.

The change was made permanent in 1971 and was primarily a result of pressure from the holiday industry who felt that a later holiday would extend the season.

The Bank Holiday in Scotland remains on the first Monday in August- this year on August 1st.

Before legislation in the late 1930s Bank Holidays were the only official paid holidays available to workers and were seen as a significant advance in working class leisure time.

The August Bank Holiday was the most popular of those agreed by the 1871 Act precisely because it was in summer and the weather was likely to be better for a trip out than the Easter holiday.

Railway companies ran excursions and extra trains to seaside destinations.

The historians say that the nature of holidays, although still strongly influenced by school terms, have changed considerably in the last 40 years with short breaks at home and abroad more popular.

However the weather and certainly the available sunlight hours are potentially better earlier in August in most areas of the UK early in the month, notwithstanding that on the 1st August this year it rained in some parts of the UK.

LSHG Convenor Dr Keith Flett, said recent discussion of bank holidays has focused on whether the UK should have more, if May Day should be maintained and if there should be an autumn bank holiday. Yet there is something of an historical case now for looking again at the 1971 decision to change the August Bank Holiday from the start of the month to the end. Perhaps we should compromise and have both as the UK still has comparatively few public holidays.

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