Preparatory work to one of the UK’s last remaining Time Balls is now underway.
Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council, a fully working Time Ball and internal mechanism will be installed.
The historic Guildhall Time Ball, once operational, will join a handful of other working Time Balls in the UK, including Greenwich London, Carlton Hill in Edinburgh, two in Kent and one in Brighton.
Dating back to 1915, Hull’s Time Ball is the highest time ball in the UK and is the only timepiece of its kind on a municipal building. It was one of the last to have been built.
Local construction company, Hobson & Porter will remove the existing replica ball and install a new one. Other elements of works consist of replacing the internal mechanism, renovating to parts of the clock tower and its historic stonework, lantern and a new electrical installation to supply the Time Ball mechanism.
The first work onsite will see the installation of a 21-level scaffold from the pavement right up to the tip of the Guildhall Time Ball mechanism, in addition to a full scaffold down the north elevation of the Guildhall on Hanover Square.
Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration and Planning, Land and Property, said: “The Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball is a distinctive landmark in the city centre and a timepiece of great heritage project, so I am delighted to see work starting.
“Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund a fully working the Time Ball will be installed and will be preserved, rediscovered and celebrated for future generations.”
Joe Booth, Business Development Director at Hobson & Porter, said: ‘Whilst every project we deliver is unique, rarely do we get an opportunity to work on a project of such historic and cultural importance as this in our home city.
“It’s great for a local company such as ours to deliver the time ball restoration project and to create a physical legacy which will ensure the city’s rich maritime heritage lives on for decades for come.”
The work is expected to be complete this autumn.
About Hull’s Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball
The clock was first installed into the Cuthbert Brodrick Town Hall and designed to take a Time Ball. In 1914 the clock was transferred on completion of the Tower to Sir Edwin Cooper’s Guildhall which was built between 1904-16, replacing the smaller Victorian Town Hall.
Its corridors are lined with acres of oak and walnut panelling, while its floors are marble. It has a large collection of fine art, sculpture, furniture, silver and the civic insignia. The main entrance to The Guildhall is from Lowgate. Inside the main entrance is the Grand Staircase, which sweeps up to the Civic Suite, Reception Room and Banqueting Hall. At the foot of the staircase is a statue of King Edward 1, who granted the city’s first charter in 1299.