The curse of the warehouse fire

Article date: 10 March 2006

  • Norwich Union helps Wallace & Gromit risefrom the ashes of October fire

It seems that 2006 is certainly shaping up better than 2005 forNick Park, creator of Oscar-winning duo Wallace &Gromit.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was worth Oscar gold forAardman Animations, the company behind Wallace & Gromit andChicken Run. But the curse of faulty wiring – thecause of last October’s tragic Bristol warehouse blaze thatdestroyed many Aardman originals – could have cost Aardmandear.

At stake were exhibition sets, props and models from Wallace &Gromit and other Aardman films including Chicken Run.

Thanks to Norwich Union, though, these British treasures can riseagain.

Although the sentimental value and attachment to these figurescan’t be measured, there is clearly a lot more to each ofNick Park’s creations than a handful of plasticine. Sowhat’s Wallace worth?

Item Lost


Wallace, Wallace & Gromit

More than £4,000

Gromit, Wallace & Gromit

More than £2,000

The Pie Machine, Chicken Run

More than £100,000

Kieran Argo, head of exhibitions at Aardman,commented on what it takes to rebuild these British icons:“The work involved in making a Wallace model is very timeconsuming for a small group of modelmakers. A complex ball andsocket armature, or skeleton, needs to be made before a hard foammaterial is used to bulk out the body shape.

“On top of this, different materials such as silicone rubberand foam latex are moulded and used to make items of clothing andshoes. The expressive parts; the face and hands are made fromplasticine. All in, this process takes several weeks and costsseveral thousands of pounds.

“The larger machine-type contraptions such as thePie-machine from Chicken Run took several months todesign and develop and had to have carefully machined movingparts.“

Erik Nelson from Norwich Union, commented: “The fire thatruined many of Aardman’s well-known creations wasdevastating. We’re thrilled that we could settle the claimquickly, ensuring Aardman could get back to business as usual asquickly as possible.”

Kieran concluded: “We were devastated when the fire occurredand we discovered that our precious exhibition collection had beenlost. Norwich Union’s swift settlement enabled us to beginto re-create the assets we had lost to ensure a minimalimpact.”


For further information, please contact:
ErikNelson on 01603 682264/07989 427086 
Janice Rutledge at Lexis PR on 020 7908 6575

Notes to editors:

Images available upon request.

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