Local firm Hobson & Porter led the project. Credit: Hull CC

Hull’s time ball returned to full working order

Next week will see the historic Guildhall timepiece rise and fall again for the first time in a century.

Situated on top of The Guildhall’s clock tower, 60m above ground level, the time ball is one of a small number still working in the country, and the only one on a civic building.

Local contractor Hobson & Porter has completed the restoration project, which was funded by Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The wider project included returning the time ball to full working order, renovating the clock tower and installing a new internal mechanism.

Cllr Mike Ross, leader of Hull City Council, said: “It is great to see the city’s Guildhall Time Ball in full working order again after over a century of not working.

“Residents can now learn about this nationally significant timepiece and the important role it played for sailors on the Humber.

“It is important to continue to tell the story of the Guildhall Time Ball and ensure this maritime story lives on for decades to come.”

Helen Featherstone, director of England North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It’s wonderful news that the Guildhall Time Ball, a timepiece of such great heritage significance has been restored to full working order.

“We’re thrilled that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we have played a key role in keeping the story of this historic landmark alive and ensuring this unique aspect of Hull’s heritage can be enjoyed by future generations.”

Joe Booth, Business Development Director at Hobson & Porter, said: “The Time Ball is a very special part of Hull’s Maritime Project and the restoration of The Guildhall.

“To see it working again is hugely rewarding for the city as a whole and everyone involved in this intricate project.

“The feedback from both local people and Hull visitors passing the site has all been extremely positive, with people genuinely happy to see this famous landmark restored to its former glory, and it’s fantastic to see the Time Ball taking pride of place on the city’s skyline once more.”

The Time Ball was last in operation in 1922 and formerly played a key role in helping navigators tell the time on the Humber and River Hull by dropping at 1pm in the summer. It is the highest time ball in the UK. Installed between April 1915 and November 1916, it is a very late example of this method of timekeeping.

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Hull is definitely on the up but it needs to clear the rubbish shops out of the centre, which have ugly signage on (often) listed buildings.

This is a really positive addition – good luck to them!


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