Singapore Standard Time Set At +7 Hour GMT

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On 1st June 1905, the mean time of the 105th Meridian (Longitude 105 deg East) was adopted by the Straits Settlements (SS) and the Federated Malay States (FMS) as the new Standard Time. This decision was made way back in February, 1904. The mean time of the 105th meridian is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (i.e. the Local Mean Time over Greenwich Royal Observatory near London, England). This Standard Time went into effect when the Time Ball on Fort Canning was completed and became operational on the same day.

Until 1905 May 31, the Singapore Mean Time was + 6hr 55m 25s GMT.

Time Ball At Fort Canning
Photo Credit: Flickr.

The above is a replica of the original time ball that was previously erected on this site. Time balls were previously used to give the public a signal of the correct time. Historically, the time ball at Fort Canning was raised at 12:55pm and dropped at exactly 1pm daily, according to standard British practice. This helped passing ships, businesses, government offices, and residents in the downtown area set their clocks and other timekeeping devices to a common time.

The first time ball was erected at Portsmouth, England in 1829 by its inventor Robert Wauchope, a Captain in the Royal Navy. One was installed in 1833 at the Greenwich Observatory by Astronomer Royal John Pond, and the time ball has dropped at 1 p.m. every day since then. Time balls are usually dropped at 1 p.m. They were raised half way about 5 minutes earlier to alert the ships, then with 2–3 minutes to go they were raised the whole way. The time was recorded when the ball began descending, not when it reached the bottom. With the commencement of radio time signals (in Britain from 1924), time-balls gradually became obsolete and many were demolished in the 1920s.

The Straits Settlements had the strongest British presence, followed by the FMS and lastly the UMS, which essentially were more or less self-ruling by their respective Sultans. The term “Malaya” includes all 3 entities—SS, FMS and UMS.

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