Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lyttelton Time Ball Tower

Star, Issue 2609, 4 August 1876, Page 2

Lyttelton Time Ball Tower.

This building, which has been erected on one of the spurs of the hill immediately above the present signalling staff, is now all but finished. The exterior portion is entirely completed, and all that now remains to be done is part of the joinery work of the interior, together with the erection of the shaft upon the summit of the tower upon which the ball itself will work. The building itself is in the early pointed style of architecture as applied to castellated buildings. The walls, which for the most part are two feet in thickness, are built of brownish coloured walling stone, obtained from the Sumner road quarries, laid in Portland cement, and bound together with frequent bands of hoop iron. The quoins and dressings to the doors and windows, cornices, and battlemented copings are of the well known Oamaru stone, and give a very pleasing and elegant finish to the building.

The building has been erected from the design of Mr Thomas Cane, Provincial Architect, under the careful supervision of Mr W. H. Espenett, the builders being Messrs Brassington and Kennington.

The tower is composed of three floors, on the bottom one of which is the astronomical dock-room, 14ft by 11ft, together with the kitchen, 11ft by 9ft. Over this are two bedrooms, 9ft by 10ft; and 15ft by l1ft 6in; and on the third floor is the lookout room. The whole of the chambers are furnished with fireplaces, and will, when finished, be very comfortable. Over the last room is the lead flat, from which a magnificent view of the harbour is obtained, and which is intended for a lookout station in fine weather.

Access to the different floors and to the flat is obtained from a spiral stone staircase, having a stone newel, 2ft in diameter, of Butterfields Cass' Peak stone, upon which the iron columns and shafting for the ball rest forming a very solid foundation.

The height, of the tower is 42ft, above which the ball will work to about the height of 10ft. The building will be finished during the present month, after which the astronomical and other apparatus will require to be erected and adjusted, for which purpose it is intended to send a gentleman down from Wellington.

The entire structure, which appears to be most substantially built in every particular, is a decided feature in the Port, and will prove of very great service, not only to those who may depend upon if for purposes incidental to navigation, but also to residents in the town, who will then have a uniform time to rely upon.

Architect: Thomas Cane, Provincial Architect
Supervisor: William Henry Espenett
Builders: Messrs Brassington and Kennington.

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