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Poppy Factory visit

Welcome to the Stamford Branch of The Royal British Legion

Some 38 of us, almost a whole bus-full, set out at the crack of dawn - well 9.00am - for a spin down the A1 and, after grinding our way around the North Circular, a visit to the RBL Poppy Factory in Richmond. 

Front entrance.JPG

The Poppy Factory's website explains its history, along with the history of the use of poppies. According to its website, the origins of the Poppy Factory go back to 1922 when Major George Howson MC, an engineer who served on the Western Front in the First World War, founded the Disabled Society to help disabled ex-Service men and women. 

Howson suggested to the British Legion that the Society should make poppies, and the artificial flowers were designed so that someone who had lost the use of a hand could assemble them. With a grant of £2,000, he set up a small factory off the Old Kent Road with five ex-Servicemen. It was here that the first British poppies were made. 

Our guide spoke for 30 minutes or so about the origins of the Poppy and though much of it we knew already, it was interesting to learn that the large 'corsage' or 'ladies' poppy costs 31p each to make. We shall have to be more sparing in how many we hand out, no matter how pretty the recipient. A minimum of £1 each would seem appropriate.

We then had lunch - fish and chips or cottage pie and chips followed by apple crumble. We were then shown into the factory itself. This was worth the whole trip. It was inspiring to see, and to chat to the men and women who, despite various disabilities, were cheerfully beavering away, mass producing Poppies 1 and Poppies 2, and all kinds of wreaths - all by hand. The Poppy consists of four parts and is designed to be put together, if necessary, with just one hand. They make 50 million of them each year!

This picture shows three boxes of stalks, petals, and centres awaiting assembly.

Poppy parts.JPG

The Petal Cutter is the machine which whizzes round chomping out thousands of petals from great rolls of red material. 

Petal cutter.JPG

A trip to The Poppy Factory is well worth a visit and the best part is seeing the people that help make our tremendously successful Poppy Appeal happen.

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