What is a bank holiday?

I have been enjoying Bank Holidays for a long time (as long as I can remember... ROFL). Today is Spring Bank Holiday which falls on the first Monday in May and was created in 1978.

These weird one off days fall in May and August and I honestly didn't really think there was any particular reason for them. I would have understood if the English got St George's Day as a day off, but May Day (today!) is a weird one.

In February 2011, the UK Parliament was reported to be considering scrapping the bank holiday associated with May Day, replacing it with a bank holiday in October, possibly coinciding with Trafalgar Day (celebrated on October 21), to create a "United Kingdom Day".

Then this year I thought I would research why they are called Bank Holidays, and actually what the hell a Bank Holiday was.

History

Prior to 1834, the Bank of England observed about 33 saints' days and religious festivals as holidays, but in 1834 this was reduced to four.

Then in 1871, the first legislation relating to bank holidays was passed when Liberal politician and banker Sir John Lubbock introduced the Bank Holidays Act 1871 .... 

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, and the making of a payment or the doing of an act on the following day was equivalent to doing it on the holiday.

So it really is a holiday for people who work in banks, hence Bank Holidays... ROFL

When I was younger shops didn't open on Bank Holidays (and most of them didn't open Sundays either!). Nowadays the only real two days that most places are shut is Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day.

Interesting Fact

1968 Emergency Bank Holiday - During the sterling crisis of 1968, Prime Minister Harold Wilson convened a meeting of the privy council in the early hours of 14 March to declare 15 March a non-statutory bank holiday. This allowed the UK government to close the London gold market in order to stem the losses being suffered by Sterling.[21] It was this meeting that triggered the resignation of Foreign Secretary George Brown.

Another Interesting Thing

After having two and half weeks off for Easter break, Matt has ANOTHER day at home... just what all parents need... ROFL


3 comments

  1. I don't care why we have them, as long as we do! Who'd want a holiday in October when we can have one in May? Longer day, sunshine (sometimes) I know which one I'd plump for. :)

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  2. When I was younger shops didn't open on Bank Holidays (and most of them didn't open Sundays either!). Nowadays the only real two days that most places are shut is Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day.


    I remember when shops closed at 4pm on Christmas Eve and didn't open again until 9am on January 2nd .. and that's when the sales started.

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