History of the Sheffield City Giants
Sheffield City Giants were presented to the Lord Mayor of
Sheffield, who accepted them on behalf of the City on 4th July 1992.
They had been created by the Catalan Giant maker, Jordi Grau (honoured
in the dance Jordi's) under
commission from the Sheffield Festival to
produce a pair of giants according to the theme of the festival 'Life
and Death'. It was, however, contrary to Catalan custom to represent
Death and with this in mind, the theme was altered to 'War and Peace'.
The hands and bodies were brought from Catalunya; the heads,
manufactured from a material called cartró pedra - a kind of
industrial grade papier maché - were made over a
week period in what had been British Rail's
Permanent Way Department workshops near Woodburn
presentation of the
Giants, the moulds of
the Giants' heads were broken with a sledgehammer on the steps of the
Town Hall. The Sheffield City Morris Men were designated the official
Custodians of the Giants, a role they still have.
On the right are the original
designs for the Giants' costumes. For
transportation purposes, these have been simplified over the years and
Peace lost her 'wedding dress' for the millennium.
Giants danced in the Lord Mayor's parade for the first time in 1993,
supported by the 'Geganters de Manresa' who had hosted Sheffield City
the previous year and were paying a return visit. The Giants went
to Catalunya in 1995 as principal guests at the 'Festa Major' in
Manresa. The Giants continued to participate regularly in the
annual Lord Mayor's parade throughout the 90s, as well as attending a
festivals in Britain celebrating folk arts - Selby, Hastings' Jack in
the Green Festival, for example, culminating in an appearance at the
'Sidmouth International Folk Festival'. Sidmouth was the principal
folk arts event in Britain at the time, involving us in parades, a
performance on the main stage and the torchlight procession through the
1998, the Giants have been resident at the Kelham Island Museum
the group of porters, musicians and catchers meets to practise on the first
Sunday of each month. New members are always welcome. Get in touch via
the Contact page.
giants have been even more active and high profile (no pun intended!!)
in the new millennium than they were in the old one and the
international nature of our performances has grown. The Giants
celebrated their 10th and 12th birthdays with major events in the City
of Sheffield and were also seen at major festivals, including a return
to Hastings' Jack in the Green, Towersey Village Festival in
Oxfordshire in 2002 and a second appearance at the 50th Sidmouth
festival in 2004.
with the giant Jehan from Estaires, France, during a
procession in Steenvoorde.
2003 we took part in the Festa
Catalunya in Manchester, organised by Manchester City
in association with the regional
government of Catalunya, involving
giants, musicians and
dancers from that region.
also saw the Giants make an appearance in Riudoms, Catalunya and in
2006 we were part of the Quatrième
Ronde de Géants
Portés in Steenvoorde, France. This was an
international event, involving 100 giants from all over the
world and attracting over 40,000 visitors. As well as two lengthy
processions, the weekend included a short
performance by the Sheffield City Giants' band, during a Saturday
night concert, in front of an audience of 2,000 in the main
saw us just as busy, the highlight being our part in the Lord Mayor of Sheffield's St George's Day
celebrations and Civic reception. The Lord Mayor at the time, Jackie Drayton,
folk dancer, contributed to the performance by folk dance groups in the Town Hall Foyer. The event.was also attended by a number of
|Dancing the Giants
in the Town
Hall Foyer was a momentous occasion. We
were particularly proud to have displayed Peace to the people of
Sheffield in the Town
Hall Foyer during
the previous week.
Our dearest wish is that the City of Sheffield will
acknowledge that the Sheffield City Giants belong to Sheffield and
should be given
and respect of the City.
her acquaintance with
Steenvoorde's giant Fromulus in
a contact made at Steenvoorde with Le
Grand Esprit from Quebec, the Sheffield City Giants were
invited to participate in La Grande
Géants à Québec, part of the celebrations
400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec
City in 2008. This was a massive undertaking which involved carefully packing the Giants
for the trip, first to Antwerp
and then to Canada. In Antwerp, they assembled with the other invited
European Giants before crossing the Atlantic by ship.
event was very successful and we made many friends.