Have your say on where Golden Teapot should go

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@ulstergazette.co.uk

THE Ulster Gazette is offering our readers to have their say on where Armagh's famous 'Golden Teapot' should be located.

It follows renewed calls for the public opinion on the matter to be taken into consideration.

The teapot was due to be located above a building on Russell Street. However, it is due to go on the market in the very near future.

And that has led to one Gazette reader asking for the public to be given an opportunity to decide where the teapot goes.

“The Golden Teapot was a big part of my childhood and I can remember being amazed at the steam coming out of it,” they said.

“But I can only remember it being in Scotch Street. As far as I am concerned it has no connection to Russell Street.

“With the news that its proposed location is going on the market, I believe that this is an opportunity to put the Teapot back where it belongs.

“It would be great to see it above one of the cafés along Scotch Street, close to its original location. It could provide a great boost for tourism with people coming to see the teapot with steam spilling out of it once again!

“I believe the people of Armagh should be allowed to decide where it goes and it would be great if the Ulster Gazette could facilitate this.”

Do you think it should appear in Scotch Street, Russell Street, The Shambles, English Street, Thomas Street or Market Street?To have your say, email editor@
ulstergazette.co.uk with the name of the street you think the Teapot should be located as the subject.

Armagh City Townscape Heritage Partnership working in partnership with Armagh County Museum has provided the opportunity for remedial conservation work to be carried out to restore this iconic symbol of Armagh’s commercial heritage.  

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Sean Barden, Curator at Armagh County Museum said, “The return of this landmark to the city centre will be very much welcomed as it was an iconic part of Armagh’s history which people of the city will remember, particularly the older generation.

“The teapot was the Victorian equivalent of a marketing technique which was quickly embraced by other traders in Armagh at that time, like the ‘Golden Canister’ and the ‘Giant Boot’ outside the bootmakers’ in Thomas Street.

“Armagh County Museum is delighted to work in partnership with Armagh City Townscape Heritage Partnership to bring this treasured gold back to life for local people and visitor to enjoy for years to come.”

The ‘Golden Teapot’ was originated by James Irwin in 1870 who used the teapot to attract customers to his family grocery store and café on Scotch Street. First reported by the Ulster Gazette in November 1870 – “The Golden Tea Pot had adorned the front of its establishment with a Golden Tea Pot of immense proportions”.

A newly established firm of Armagh plumbers Donnelly and Sommerville were commissioned to make the gigantic teapot and much of the work seems to have been carried out by James Robinson. Robinson was ideally suited to the job of carefully cutting and soldering the zinc metal plates that make up the teapot for he was the Town Commissioners’ ‘Waterman’ and skilled in working with metal.

The sign hung on Irwin’s premises in Scotch Street for many decades where the spout proudly puffed steam to attract customers to his shop and the City Bakery Café which thrived on the first floor.

The Golden Teapot disappeared from Scotch Street in the 1990s and was donated to Armagh County Museum where it has been carefully preserved in the museum's climate controlled stores since then.

The painstaking work is currently underway and being carried out by Ruth Bothwell of Decowell and Gerard Loughran of Ballinliss Forge Works, Camlough.

A major investment of £6.3 million will transform the city centre - led by the Armagh City Townscape Heritage Partnership, with support from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the five-year Armagh City Townscape Heritage project, will be directly geared towards repairing properties and bringing historic spaces back into sustainable use.

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