#RoaminRex has been to learn about signalling and time keeping, life in the Royal Navy and smuggling from the four floors of exhibits housed in the iconic Grade II listed tower that is Site No. 38 on his map, Deal Timeball Tower.
Until 1927, the timeball on the tower was linked to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich by electric telegraph wires. At 1pm a signal was sent to all timeball towers to synchronise the drop of the ball. Ships anchored off Deal could then synchronise their chronometers, essential for navigation.
Today, the Timeball Is programmed to drop every day at 1pm. Additionally, during the summer season the ball drops hourly from 9am to 5pm. The Timeball also drops at midnight on New Years’ Eve.
Previously the tower had been used to send information to other stations along the Kent and Sussex coast by semaphore signal as part of the coastal smuggling blockade, before which a shutter telegraph station stood on the site.
Visit our Timeball Tower page for more details