William Strachey’s timing

For the majority of his life, William Strachey lived ahead of time-six hours ahead in fact.

He was the uncle of the English writer Lytton Strachey. He lived in India for about five years and was associated with the British Empire, known for upholding the European customs with far greater rigidity and a finer disregard for common sense than his siblings.

Having once visited Calcutta, he was convinced that the clocks there were the only true chronometers in the world, and had his own watch resolutely set by Calcutta time.

So for the next fifty-six years or so, he lived his life by Calcutta time which was six hours ahead of Greenwich.

This was unsettling for Strachey’s family and friends for he would go to bed when everyone else would be having afternoon tea, and lived most of his waking hours by candlelight. Those who stayed with him had to bear with him rising in the middle of the night to start his ‘day’!


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