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Armagh’s iconic teapot ready for golden treatment 

Local people invited to take part in restoring Armagh’s treasured gold  

Armagh's Golden Teapot

Armagh’s ‘Golden Teapot’ has undergone significant restoration work in repairing this iconic piece of treasured gold, with the next stage of works consisting of gold leaf gilding to restore its golden glow.

Specialised ‘gold leaf gilding’ workshops have been arranged to give the local community an opportunity to be part of restoring this treasured piece of Armagh’s heritage and history.

Guided by a skilled conservator local people are invited to experience this specialised decorative technique by applying gold leaf to the teapot.

Limited places are available for the workshop which will take place on Saturday, November 9 at 10am-1pm in Armagh County Museum.

Sean Barden, Curator at Armagh County Museum said: “We are delighted to offer this exciting opportunity to the local community to be a part of the Golden Teapot’s history.

“With no experience needed we welcome people of all ages to come along and participate in the gilding workshop or simply drop-in to the museum to view the much-missed Golden Teapot.

“Having cared for the broken teapot for nearly 20 years, and as the current owner. Armagh County Museum will ensure this iconic piece of Armagh’s treasure is protected and preserved for future generations, with a strategy for its long-term, sustainable future being carefully considered, and once complete we look forward to showcasing the Golden Teapot.”

Armagh’s Golden Teapot dates back to around 1870 when it was erected above a premises in Scotch Street and remained there for over a century until it was unfortunately dismounted by an articulated-lorry in the 1990s.

In its dismantled form, it was donated to Armagh County Museum nearly 20 years ago and has been carefully preserved in the museums climate controlled stores until now.

Once conservation works are complete, the Golden teapot will be on public display in the Armagh County Museum.

As the owner of the teapot, Armagh County Museum is working in partnership with Armagh City Townscape Heritage who is responsible for leading the major investment of £6.3 million to transform the city centre.

Funded by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the five-year Armagh City Townscape Heritage project will restore and enhance properties by bringing historic spaces back into sustainable use.

To book a place at the workshop please email ciara.macniece@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk before Wednesday November 6 or call 028 3752 9600 ext. 3302.

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.

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