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17th March 2020

Contractors are being invited to be involved in restoring one of the UK’s last remaining Time Balls, reflecting the importance of maritime timekeeping, the link with navigation and the need to fix longitude from the John Harrison period (1720s) to the present.

Companies have the opportunity to submit tenders to become the Principal Contractor to undertake a comprehensive restoration of the Guildhall tower including removing the existing replica ball and installing a new fully working one. Other elements of works include replacing the internal mechanism, renovating to parts of the clock tower and its historic stonework, lantern and iron step repairs and a new electrical installation to supply the Time Ball mechanism.

Dating back to 1915, the Guildhall Time Ball is one of a number of time balls left in the country and this restoration will secure its future and raise awareness of its significance and maritime importance.

The Guildhall
Hull's Guildhall

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration, Planning, Land and Property, said: “The Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball is unique - the only one in the UK on a municipal building and as far as we know the only tower specifically designed for a time ball, a piece of heritage which needs celebrating.

“Once complete, it will join a handful of other working time balls in the UK and will continue to be an important and key landmark in the city.”

This project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council.

Greenwich Timeball
The Guildhall Time Ball is one of a number of time balls left in the country - credit Historic England

The tender period is open for five weeks and the documents are available via YORTender https://www.yortender.co.uk/ with reference number DN453811.

With works due to start in the summer 2020 in line with the Guildhall roof repairs, the appointed Principal Contractor will work with the council’s appointed Project Design Team/Principal Designer (DarntonB3 Ltd) and the Time Ball/Mechanism Designers/manufacturers (Smith of Derby Ltd).