A significant part of Lyttelton's maritime history will be moved to long-term storage at the Canterbury Museum today.
The carvings of the Canterbury Provincial Shield and the Royal Standard - which were retrieved from the rubble when the Timeball Station collapsed in the major earthquake on 13 June 2011 - were part of a stone door surround that was originally the front entrance to the building. Carved by the stonemason William Brassington, who constructed the building, the carvings disappeared from sight when a brick section was added to the building in 1912.
The shields were uncovered during the 1970's restoration, when drilling for a sprinkler pipe hit limestone. The shields were uncovered and became a focal point in the building. The carving of the Canterbury Provincial Shield is thought to be the oldest remaining carving of the shield, carved in stone.
The carvings will be stored while the New Zealand Historic Places Trust considers options for the Timeball Station site's future.
From 1876 the timeball was dropped from the Timeball Station's mast to signal the time to ships in Lyttelton Harbour. A fine example of Victorian technology, until the earthquakes the Timeball Station was one of only a few in the world known to be still in working order - making it a rare piece of maritime history.
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