It’s a unique relic from the Victorian era; a huge copper teapot gilded with gold. Although ‘missing’ for around forty years, it’s a case of once seen never forgotten. News of its reinstatement will delight many who remember it in the city.
Following painstaking restoration, it ‘s expected that the Golden teapot will be erected on the façade of Faller the Jewellers at 12 Strand Road this morning.
Restoration involved reinforcing the teapot on the inside with fibreglass and re-gilding on the outside with gold leaf. And, it will be reinstated, as it was at times in the past, with ‘steam’ coming from the spout, passed through a pipe from a special machine inside the building. Actually the ‘steam’ will be a plume of white, water based, environmentally friendly smoke which dissipates inside 20 seconds in the air.
“Now, the golden teapot, Derry’s truly outstanding nineteenth century trade-sign, is back in its original splendour. It will be a great tourist attraction. I’m proud to have such a famous artefact as it is so deeply imprinted in the memory of so many people and it’s fitting that it is being restored during our City of Culture year.” said Noel Faller.
Over a metre high and two metres wide, weighing 74 kilos, the teapot previously hung in the city for over 100 years.
Writing in 1946, one of the city’s oldest residents, Charles Wesley Gordon, then 88, mentioned the teapot:
“Turning towards Waterloo Square, my attention is arrested by “The Golden Teapot” standing out so prominently against the sky just as it did 70 or 80 years ago, with its worthy traditions upheld as of old.”
Mr Gordon’s memory was pretty good as the Teapot, outside McCullagh’s grocery and tea importers, (formerly Holmes and Mullin) had indeed been hanging there for 80 years, since 1866. When McCullagh’s at Waterloo Place was demolished in 1963, to make way for a new bank, (the Savings Bank, later First Trust), the teapot was moved to another branch of McCullagh’s at Clooney Terrace. It was taken down from there around 1970 when McCullagh’s closed.
It has an amazing past, having been pierced by bullets in 1920 and was widely rumoured to have been mentioned in one of infamous Lord Haw-Haw’s broadcasts from Nazi Germany. In fact, however, this was an example of an ‘urban myth’ as thorough research has disproved the rumour.
Now the Golden Teapot is to hang outside one of the city’s oldest and most distinguished family firms.
Noel Faller carries on the business established in 1883 by his grandfather William, a clockmaker from the Black Forest in Germany.
Noel bought the teapot in 1974 and it’s being erected outside his fine 1903 building at Strand Road, to coincide with Derry’s year as a City of Culture.
It’s also fitting that it is 130 years since young German immigrant; William opened his first shop in Derry.
Fallers, makers of fine jewellery, at 12 Strand Road will provide an excellent home for the teapot. Their elegant building, by celebrated architect Edward Toye, still retains all its original architectural features, and is a magnificent example of a high-class jewellers shop at the end of the Victorian era.
The firm’s five highly trained and skilled goldsmiths specialise in a “Proudly made in Derry” range of fine jewellery. Products include iconic “Drop of Derry” pendants and brooches representative of the city, a “Kryptos” range of pendants with hidden messages and fine replicas of the famous 7th century Celtic Crosses of Innishowen.
It is hoped the teapot will again capture the imagination of all and that it will be, once more a landmark in the city.
It will attract many locals and visitors to see it in its new home and could significantly increase foot fall in this part of the city. The re-appearance of such a unique heritage artefact is a major local contribution to Derry’s year as City of Culture.
For extensive background information go to: www. golden-teapot.com - the website will go live from this morning.