Deal Time Ball Tower – Library image

Dover District Council is welcoming news that the historic Deal Time Ball Tower is reopening to visitors on Good Friday, (15 April), in time for the busy Easter weekend – and is thanking volunteers at the Deal Museum Trust for their continuing hard work.

This follows a major £80,000 programme of renovations to the Time Ball Tower by the Council to replace the mast and refurbish the timeball mechanism, and carry out a range of external works to the popular maritime landmark. 

These works were carried out by local contractors Hipperson Limited and Fabweld Metalworks, as well as John Cossey Roofing and Maintenance Contractors Ltd, and specialist works were undertaken by Gillett and Johnston Clockmakers and Restorers. 

A range of other works have also taken place to refurbish the area outside the front of the tower, carried out by DDC’s Asset Maintenance Team, using funding from the Welcome Back Fund. These works included the repair of seating and paving, the repainting of bollards, refurbishing the anchor, and works on the cannon, cycle racks, and historic information board. The frontage has also been cleaned down, to refresh the paving and raised flower beds. 

The Grade ll listed Deal Time Ball Tower is owned by DDC and run as a successful and award-winning museum/visitor attraction by the Deal Museum Trust. The Trust has also been fundraising to help with renovation costs. 

The Tower will be open 11.30am-4.30pm from Good Friday to Easter Monday (15-18 April inclusive). Opening times for 2022 will then be 11.30am-4.30pm on: Saturdays and Sundays from 30 April to 29 May inclusive; public holidays on 2 May, 30 May, 29 Aug; and Wednesdays to Sundays inclusive from 2 June to 2 October. 

History

The Time Ball Tower was built in 1820 with a semaphore mast at the top used to signal to ships. In 1855, the timeball mechanism was added by the Astronomer Royal, George Airy. The timeball, which is similar to the Greenwich Time Ball, was designed to fall at 1pm precisely. The time signal allowed ships in the area to check the accuracy of their chronometers, essential for accurate navigation. 

Cllr Oliver Richardson, DDC Cabinet Member for Corporate Property said: “We are delighted to see the Time Ball Tower reopening, and would like to say a big thank you to the Deal Museum Trust and all their amazing volunteers.  This is a fantastic historic asset, and we are very pleased to have been able to invest in this renovation.” 

Jeremy Davies-Webb, Chair of the Deal Timeball Tower Trustees, said: “We are very grateful for all the restoration work by Dover District Council. We are very conscious of our responsibility to keep this valuable historical asset in use. We have been raising money for repairs, and there is still some internal restoration work to be done, and we continue to work hard to appeal for donations. However, we thank everyone who has supported the Trust, and we look forward to reopening over the Easter weekend.” 

For more about the Time Ball Tower, please see the Deal Time Ball Tower site at www.dealtimeball.co.uk 

By Ed

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