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The Golden Teapot


Just prior to erection the teapot was again partly re-gilded with gold leaf by Moville sign writer, Kieron McLaughlin.

Fallers began restoration work on the teapot in the 1990s. David Thomas, a highly-skilled silversmith who had previously worked in the firm’s jewellery workshop carried out the restoration. He carefully removed the dents, repaired holes, replaced the iron base with copper, and strengthened the teapot on the inside with fibreglass matting. Finally, he applied fine gold leaf to the entire exterior.

At that time a replica iron wall bracket was made in a local engineering works but in 2000 it was decided to re-design the fixing to meet today’s safety standards. Local engineer Edward Meenan designed and built a new bracket from stainless steel box section. It was coated in black powder for long-term ascetics and to prevent water staining on the teapot. It will also allow the teapot to be easily removed for cleaning and re-gilding every five years or so.

Fallers hoped to restore it using a steam boiler as used in Derry’s shirt factories to iron shirts. This plan proved problematic, however, as it meant having a boiler in one of the firm’s workshops, and that raised health and safety issues. It was also going to be difficult to regulate steam pressure. Too much steam emerging from the spout would make the teapot look more like a kettle.

Edward Meenan undertook much research to solve this problem. The decision was made to install a smoke generating machine that produces a plume of white, water-based environmentally friendly ‘steam’. It dissipates within 20 seconds but has the advantage of being visible even on sunny days.  This machine can control the function to allow the ‘steam’ to be emitted on the hour every hour.  As the firm no longer sells clocks or watches, this prompted Noel Faller to quip, “Although we don’t sell time, we will still tell the time”.

2013 Installation

The Golden Teapot was installed on the façade of Faller the Jeweller at 12 Strand Road early in the morning of the 20th of January 2013 by Edward Meenan and his team. This marked the 130th year since the first Faller shop was opened in Derry city by William Faller, a 23-year-old German immigrant. The firm’s present owner is his grandson Noel.

The teapot itself weighs 74kg and the wall bracket 19kg; the teapot is 1940mm from handle to spout and has a diameter of 1100mm.

Derry folk can be proud that their magnificent Victorian trade sign is back on display again. The Golden Teapot previously hung in the city for over 100 years. It has had an eventful history and the fact that it has survived so long is remarkable. With the steam spouting from the teapot on the hour every daylight hour, it is hoped the teapot will capture the imagination of all who see it.  As a major landmark in the city, it is likely to become a popular meeting point again.