From 29 June 2023, Hull’s Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball will rise and fall again after 100 years, thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council.
This funding has restored the Time Ball to full working order, renovating the clock tower as well as the installation of a new internal mechanism, maintaining history whilst adding a modern twist.
Hull’s Guildhall Time Ball is the only such timepiece on a municipal building, the highest in the UK and one of handful still operational today. It reflects the importance of maritime timekeeping, and the role of fixing longitude for accurate navigation.
The original Time Ball was was installed between April 1915 and November 1916, and is 60m above ground level, and was removed due to severe damage caused by a storm.
The new time ball is approx. 42” in dia. and weighs 50kgs. The weathervane is 80cm high x 120cm wide and weights 25kgs, it is based on an 18th century merchant ship of the ‘Bounty’, built in Hull and later famous for the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’, of which there are several film versions. Both the time ball and weathervane are finished in 23 ½ carat, double thickness English gold leaf.
The Time Ball dropped at 1pm each day to allow sailors to set their chronometers – confirming longitude, which was vital for accurate navigation and safety. The signal was sent from Royal Observatory, Greenwich to the General Post Office.
Following restoration, the Guildhall Time Ball has reclaimed its position on Hull's skyline and will rise at 12.57pm and held by magnetic strips, and then drops at 1pm each day.
There will be opportunities for residents and visitors to learn more about its maritime significance.
Learn more about the Time Ball here.
Watch the restoration of the Time Ball below.