Restoring a forgotten landmark to its former glory

Our project to restore an iconic but forgotten landmark in Hull’s city centre is making great progress, with works to the link building and internal refurbishments now underway.

79 Lowgate is an impressive Grade II-listed building that was formerly used as the City Archives, however this came to an end a decade ago when the Hull History Centre was opened.

Located on Guildhall Road and overlooking Queens Gardens, 79 Lowgate was originally built as headquarters for local wine and spirits merchant Samuel Mason. We are currently working to bring it back into use as corporate office space for Hull City Council which will adjoin the adjacent warehouse located in Guildhall Road via the new link building.

We are well underway with the refurbishment scheme and have recently removed the roof from the loading bay on Guildhall Road to complete remedial works to the lift shaft and commence the construction of a new steel framed glass atrium which will link 79 Lowgate and the adjacent Warehouse no.8 building.

Internally, we have commenced works to delicately refurbish the original staircases and create new corporate offices across the five floors of the building. We will soon be commencing works to re-roof the main building which will involve carefully demolishing and reconstructing the parapet using the original bricks.

The scheme has been awarded to us via the YORBuild framework. As part of the procurement, we were actively involved in developing the design over the last 12 months via early contractor involvement.

The roof of 79 Lowgate offers fantastic views across Hull city centre, including our nearby Phase 2 re-roofing scheme on the city’s’ Guildhall which includes the replacement of the iconic time ball, a rare historic timepiece that was used to help ship’s navigators tell the time and fix longitudes from sea.

Joe Booth, Business Development Director for Hobson & Porter, said: “We are pleased with the progress being made at the refurbishment of 79 Lowgate and are delighted to be working with Hull City Council to restore this iconic and elegant building, which has played an important and diverse role in the city’s heritage.

“It is great to see conservation projects of this nature taking place in our home city as we enter our 50th year in business. The 79 Lowgate project is one of many historic landmarks we have been preserving and refurbishing in the city in recent months; complementing our ongoing work at the neighbouring Guildhall site and across the city at the historic Beverley Road Baths. We are delighted to be bringing this Grade II-listed structure back to life and into contemporary use.”

Helping to restore Hull’s proud maritime heritage with Guildhall time ball installation

We are pleased to be underway with preparatory works to install one of the UK’s last remaining time balls to Hull’s Guildhall.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Hull City Council, we will be installing a fully working time ball and internal mechanism to the building as part of our Phase 2 refurbishment project.

The historic Guildhall Time Ball, once operational, will join a handful of other working time balls in the UK, including Greenwich London, Carlton Hill in Edinburgh, two in Kent and one in Brighton.

Dating back to 1915, Hull’s time ball is the highest in the UK and the only timepiece of its kind on a municipal building. It was one of the last to have been built.

Our work will involve the removal of the existing replica ball and installation of a new one. Other elements of works consist of replacing the internal mechanism, renovation to parts of the clock tower and its historic stonework, lantern and a new electrical installation to supply the time ball mechanism.

The first work onsite will see the installation of a 21-level scaffold from the pavement right up to the tip of the Guildhall Time Ball mechanism, in addition to a full scaffold down the north elevation of the Guildhall on Hanover Square.

Councillor Daren Hale, Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment, Regeneration and Planning, Land and Property, said: “The Guildhall Greenwich Time Ball is a distinctive landmark in the city centre and a timepiece of great heritage project, so I am delighted to see work starting.

“Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a fully working the Time Ball will be installed and will be preserved, rediscovered and celebrated for future generations.”

Joe Booth, Business Development Director at Hobson & Porter said: ‘Whilst every project we deliver is unique, rarely do we get an opportunity to work on a project of such historic and cultural importance as this in our home city.

“It’s great for a local company such as ours to deliver the time ball restoration project and to create a physical legacy which will ensure the city’s rich maritime heritage lives on for decades for come.”

The work is expected to be complete this autumn.