Every year there are eight bank holidays in England, Wales and Scotland – and ten in Northern Ireland. But why do we have them?
The first legislation for bank holidays dates back to 1871 when Sir John Lubbock, a Liberal politician, introduced the ‘Bank Holidays Act 1871’. Lubbock was a keen Cricket fan and the days happened to coincide with his village teams matches. The Act specified Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Boxing day and the first Monday in August as bank holidays.
Under the Act, ‘no person was compelled to make any payment or to do any act upon a bank holiday which he would not be compelled to do or make on Christmas Day or Good Friday’.
But, why are they called ‘Bank holidays?’ Some suggest that it is because the term ‘Bank’ gives the date more importance than ‘Public’ and that if banks shut, then other businesses would do the same.
Later, starting in 1965, Parliament announced August bank holidays which were ‘to give a lead in extending British holidays over a longer summer period’. These were announced on an ad hoc basis each year, always being the last weekend of August.
100 years after the 1871 Act, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 was passed, which still regulates bank holidays in the UK today. Most of the current holidays were specified in this Act, however, New Year’s Day and May day weren’t introduced until 1974 and 1978, respectively. Whit Monday was replaced by the Late Spring bank holiday.
As many workers enjoy a Monday morning lay in, an extra day of sunshine in a beer garden or a short UK break, it is not surprising to hear that there are campaigns for extra bank holidays throughout the year. The most popular campaigned-for dates include the feast days of patron saints such as; St George and St David in England and Wales, respectively.
Ireland and Scotland already have St Patrick’s day and St Andrew’s day as bank holidays, with St Andrews day being the most recent addition having only been a bank holiday since 2008. As a way of trying to win votes, Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will introduce these last two patron saints’ days if he comes into power.
Bank holidays are proclaimed each year by the legal device of a royal proclamation, which means it can move them when they fall on a weekend, creating what are known as ‘substitute days’.
Did you know?
May is the only month to have two bank holidays, with the Early May bank holiday falling on the first Monday of the month and the Spring bank holiday, which replaced Whit Monday, on the last Monday of the month.
Connect with us
View by date
A barbecue is a social event. A time to get together with friends and family under the hot sun and enjoy a meal Alfresco. Whether you are a BBQ aficionado or a BBQ newbie, our guide will help you pick the right equipment and provide you with some useful hints and tips. Charcoal or …Read more...
With the property market having been reopened for just over a month, new trends are starting to emerge… The latest stats from Rightmove have revealed new property trends for Brits as we start to move out of lockdown. The pandemic has made potential buyers rethink their priorities when it comes to a property with an …Read more...
Due to the Coronavirus lockdown, many highly anticipated films have been pushed back, but with cinemas due to reopen this week, we thought we’d look at the latest release dates for some of the biggest blockbusters this year… Mulan – 12th August Disney continues to rollout live-action remakes of their classics. This time around …Read more...
Liven up your summer with these refreshing ice cream recipes. Something for the kids to get involved in! Sugar-free strawberry and banana ice cream Serves 8 Ingredients: 300ml double cream 300ml whole milk 6 large egg yolks 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped out (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste) 500g …Read more...
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in a statement to the House confirmed that lockdown measures will be further reduced from the 4th of July onwards… The government released plans to return life to normal for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS. The …Read more...