Richmond residents who have travelled along Petersham Road recently may have spotted a red sign near the junction with Compass Hill, directing attention towards The Poppy Factory
Since the 1920s, veterans with health conditions have lived and worked on this site. The first of these were disabled veterans of the First World War, who came to work at the factory making Remembrance poppies and wreaths. In doing so they established a specialist craft that continues to this day.
We are tremendously proud of the role our production team plays in Remembrance, working year-round to create wreaths and tributes that will be laid in services around the world to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict. Amid the collective hardship of the pandemic, it can be helpful to reflect upon the sacrifices made by those who came before us.
The factory area in which our team works to honour this tradition has been improved and modernised as part of an extensive redevelopment of our buildings, completed during the pandemic. This refurbishment includes our state-of-the-art new visitor centre, which tells the full story of The Poppy Factory and our Richmond community for the first time.
It is the story of our charity’s first workers, how they lived and how their hard work helped build that shared Remembrance tradition. It is the story of the red Remembrance poppy itself, and the symbolic weight it has held around the world for generations. And it is the story of all those our charity has supported; veterans who have taken on diverse roles throughout society as our employment support service has grown.
Groups of 25 or more can book tickets for a private visit, with insight from an expert host. And we are excited to let Richmond residents know about our very first open afternoon on Thursday 2 December, when individuals and smaller groups will have the opportunity to book. Tickets for the open afternoon are likely to sell out quickly, so please be sure to book your place if you would like to join us.
From its very first days, The Poppy Factory has built a supportive environment for veterans with health conditions, harnessing their skills and experience and empowering them to build a brighter future.
Funds raised through our visitor centre will help transform veterans’ lives.
– from a Richmond Council press release - 9 November 2021