Peer closely at the top of the Guildhall tower and you might just make out a ball with pole sticking out of it. Yup not an impressive sight I agree but this is, or rather was, a time signal for ships on the river and in the nearby docks. The ball would be raised up and then dropped at noon, much like the more famous Greenwich ball dropping thing down south. It hasn't worked for donkey's years and indeed I didn't even know it was there until an article in the local rag drew my attention to it. There's been a few attempts to get it going again but all have failed due no doubt to the fact that £50,000 to drop a ball at noon seems a bit of a waste of money given that there's no ships and no dock. But these are mere piffling details; with the City of Culture coming up balls will drop I have no doubt.