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VISIT TO RICHMOND POPPY FACTORY

May 2016


25 Members of the Historical Society and The Royal British Legion went to The Poppy Factory at Richmond. We were met at the door to the factory by our tour guide, Brian and were offered complimentary tea or coffee before we listened to a very interesting talk about the history of The Poppy and the founding of the Factory. This included a short video. Following the talk we were taken through to the factory where we could see how the individual poppies are made and how the wreaths for The Royal Family to lay each Remembrance Sunday are made. (we were allowed to make a poppy for ourselves).

During the First World War much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud, bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.
Bright red Flanders poppies, however, were delicate but resilient flowers and grew in their thousands flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction. In early May 1915 shortly after losing a friend in Ypes, a Canadian doctor Lt. Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. This poem inspired an American academic Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guerin. The Royal British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of these Poppies and sold them on 11th November that year. The Poppies sold out almost immediately and the first ever 'Poppy Appeal raised over £106,000, a considerable amount of money at that time. This was used to help WW1 veterans with employment and housing. The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-servicemen. Today the factory and the Legions warehouse at Aylesford produces millions of Poppies each year.
When our tour was over we made our way out to have lunch in one of the many cafes restaurants and pubs in Richmond. Everyone agreed it was a very enjoyable day.




 

Shoreham And District
Historical Society
Affiliated to
The Shoreham Society
The Kent History Federation and
The Kent Archaeological Society

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May 23, 2017

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Shoreham And District Historical Society