The Night-time Blitz Experience

In 2020-2021 Art Shell with partners Grangetown Local History Society ran Heritage Lottery funded ‘The Night-time Blitz Experience’.  GLHS first approached Art Shell with a view to working together on a project exploring the impact of the Blitz on Grangetown. The project developed and funding was sought to commission three artists and a group of ten local young people to make work at buildings in Grangetown that were directly affected by the bombing. The resulting work was due to be shown on the 80th anniversary of the Blitz, January 2nd 2021, as part of a night-time tour, but moved online due to Covid resitrictions. The work can be seen here


About the artists:

alec stephens
Alec Stevens is a visual artist focused on telling stories within museums, archives and collections. The projects he undertakes are rooted within the research of a particular location and the presence of people there over the course of history.  Alec is developing work centred around the Hollymans Bakery (now Clarence Hardware) in Grangetown, Cardiff. He is interested in the events leading to 10 named and 22 unnamed people taking shelter in the bakery’s basement on the evening of the 2nd January 1941.

Jason and Becky

Jason&Becky are collaborative artists based in Swansea. Their practice is often interactive in nature, involving participation and/or audio-visual installation-based work, which aims to explore relationships between people and place. For The Night Time Blitz Experience, Jason&Becky are proposing to work with residents and local school-children in developing an audio-visual experience and/or performative event, in response to the 80th anniversary of the Blitz, through the exploration and inter-weaving of narratives past and present. Jason and Becky plan to make work around Clydach Street.

Secondson halldorophone (photo by Tessa Salt)

Secondson is a musician and record producer, who creates work predominantly with analog audio equipment, with an emphasis on synthesised and sampled sounds. For the Night-time Blitz Experience Secondoson will work with a halldorophone, the instrument can create a very industrial, mechanical, almost drone like quality coupled with traditional amplified cello sounds and any sound source that can be sent into the amplifiers. Secondon will be working with dual projections and live performance near to where the Hollyman’s Bakery tragedy unfolded in January 1941. Secondson’s studio is across the Clarence Road bridge in Butetown.

NTBE Youth team:

A group of young people with a connection to Grangetown, Marwa, Suhur, Ollie, Nirushan, Saynab, Ibado, Ella, Ayan, Mohammed, Malik and Ikram formed the NTBE Young Peoples Group. They worked with local artists Mathilde Lopez, Kyle Legall, Dave Norton, Samatar Elmi and Michael Harvey to explore the impact of the Blitz on their area over 10 sessions and lead to a fourth piece of artwork/performance. Some of the work they did can be seen here

Background: Steve Duffy, leading the research for Grangetown Local History Society, with other GLHS members, began collecting stories and audio memories of World War Two from Grangetown residents nine years ago, some of whom are no longer with us. The importance of recording personal and family histories – and piecing together events which were often otherwise lost to wartime censorship, became apparent.

“These were dramatic and life-changing events for many people – 165 across Cardiff were killed and 6,000 made homeless in one night, right at the heart of the neighbourhood which was worst hit.”

As well as connecting with older people, we aim to connect with young people creatively on relating to the Blitz and its effect on the local landscape and community.

Grangetown Local History Society live tweeted events as they happened alongside the other work.


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