listers lanterns hare (800x535)

Local artists lose everything as giant puppets burn

Five years’ worth of community artwork – including fantastical giant puppets and illuminating lanterns – have been destroyed following the disastrous Drummond Mill blaze last month.

For the past three years the mill had been the creative home of Cecil Green Arts, a Bradford based Arts collective that specialises in grand works of art for community parades.

vulture puppet (301x450)However, following the huge fire on 28th January, the group lost all their work in the smoky cinders, including tools and materials worth an estimated £12,000.

Harry Kingham, a lead artist for CGA said:  “So far it is good that no one seems to have been hurt in the fire. But I feel sick thinking of the countless hours and community goodwill that have gone into the art that was stored in the Mill.

“You can’t put a price on art, but for us those puppets and creations are invaluable. They literally are characters that have personalities and stories of their own.

“We are so saddened by the loss of all the puppets that have been made over the years. We’re desperately looking for space where we can hold workshops and commence our projects again.

“It would need to be in the Bradford area. It’s not easy finding the right space because we need double door access as some of the artworks we build are too big to go through a single door.”

CGA started working in 2011 with the local community to create an annual street parade, known as ‘The Canterbury Carnival’.

In 2013,  the arty collective started ‘Lister’s Lanterns’ – an annual light parade through Manningham park – which included giant moving lanterns and a copy of Sophie Ryder’s sculpture ‘The Hare’ which, until recently, stood outside Cartwright Hall.

In 2015, the group created ‘Jack be Little’, which was a piece of puppet street theatre for the Bradford Festival and included a giant ‘Green Man’ head and an astonishing tricycle-propelled vulture.

Katie Jones, a separate lead artist for CGA, said: “It is a tragedy that all these pieces of Bradford street art have gone up in flames. We have lost not only our livelihoods but our creative home.”

puppet cecil green (800x536)

The art group issued a statement which said: “Whilst we are devastated by the fire that has taken everything, we acknowledge that we grew from humble beginnings, building puppets in my living room in order to join in with a local school’s carnival parade.

“We believe that we can rise again, to rebuild and recreate beautiful community based works of art; that continue to bring joy; to have fun; to raise hopes; to put smiles on people’s faces; to create a sense of awe and to continue to tell the stories of the people of Bradford.”

CGA are now looking to raise £35,000, which will enable them to secure a new base for community art projects and create a community street parade celebrating the life of the Mill. The group are hoping to raise the money by the end of April.

A special fundraising event will kick off on 19th March at Merchants Quay, Shipley and will start at around 5pm.

To donate money online, please go to