Here's Jason Lok, Hull Maritime's Documentation Assistant looking back at when the Guildhall Time Ball dropped for the first time in a century.
Last week Hull witnessed the Guildhall Time Ball dropping once again after a century!
The Time Ball is a significant object of Hull’s maritime history, it is a time signalling device that drops at exactly at 1pm, so that mariners would be able to know the correct time while they were on their sea vessels.
Knowing the time could be useful in many ways, for example it could determine one’s location in the sea. If a mariner knew the time accurately and how long they had been sailing, they would be able to figure out the vessel’s longitude at sea. Before the invention of accurate watches, the Time Ball was once the most accurate way for an average person to tell the time.
The Time Ball would start rising to the top of the pole at 12:57pm everyday and starts playing a tune and drop precisely at 1pm.
The last time the Time Ball was used was in 1922, the restoration work was funded by Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Hull’s Time Ball is quite unique in the United Kingdom, as it is the only Time Ball that is on a municipal building (the Guildhall), it dates back to 1918 and it is the highest in the UK!
It is amazing to see it working once again and see Hull’s maritime heritage still prevailing to this day!