About One O'Clock Gun

The One O'Clock Gun is a naval cannon that stands outside the City Hall of Pietermaritzburg. Its name hails back to the time when it was fired every day, bar Sundays, at one o'clock to announce the arrival of the post from Durban.

Did you know? In 1879, during the Zulu War, the One O'Clock Gun was brought out of retirement to help defend the town of Pietermaritzburg. In 1901 it was transferred to its present site opposite City Hall, where it has stood ever since.

The 5.5kg naval gun is said to have arrived at its location in 1901, and remains a prominent landmark of the city of Pietermaritzburg.

The beautiful Victorian City Hall lies right in the heart of Pietermaritzburg, a national monument said to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Other than its magnificent bell tower, it also has gorgeous stained glass and an enormous pipe organ. For this reason it is used for various concerts and exhibitions.

Together with the One O'Clock Gun, and other historical buildings in the vicinity, it is well worth a visit. Interestingly there is a One O'Clock Gun Association in Edinburgh, where they too have a one o'clock gun set up at Edinburgh Castle. It has been there since 1861 and continues to function as a daily time signal, fired every day at 13:00 precisely, except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day. It originally functioned as a time signal for ships in the Firth of Forth, the estuary of Scotland's River Forth.

There are a number of similar time guns thoughout the world, such as the Cape Town Noon Day Gun. They include time guns in Sydney, Ottawa, Hong Kong, St Petersburg, Montreal and Vladivostock. Pietermaritzburg's One O'Clock Gun does not appear on the list of World Time Guns, but this may be because it is no longer fired on a daily basis.

Need to Know

WhereThe One O'Clock Gun stands outside the City Hall, Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Pietermaritzburg Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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