Poppy tribute to the fallen of World War One given permanent home at Imperial War Museum North

  • Correspondent Amy Welch spoke to Laura Clouting from the Imperial War Museum about the installation.

The Imperial War Museum in Greater Manchester has become the permanent home of the iconic poppy sculptures created to mark the First World War centenary.

The display, which sees the remembrance sculptures cascade from the ceiling, opened at museum in Trafford on 10 November.

Following the success of Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window, which toured to London and Manchester in 2018 to mark the end of the First World War centenary, the iconic sculptures have been combined and returned to Imperial War Museum North.

They are now on permanent display as part of a brand-new artwork, Poppies

Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window were originally part of the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. 

The sculptures were conceived by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper and became part of a national cultural programme to mark the First World War centenary.

The ceramic poppies formed part of 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London, marking the centenary of World War I. Credit: PA

The poppies were hand crafted from clay by a team of more than 300 people.

Over four months volunteers installed 888,246 poppies at the Tower of London. Each sculpted flower represented a life lost from Britain and its Empire in the First World War. 

Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window travelled to 19 locations around the UK between 2014 and 2018, with Wave concluding at IWM North and Weeping Window concluding at IWM London.

  • Staff at The Imperial War Museum prepare the poppy display.

The installation is both a contemporary artwork and social history. It invites visitors to reflect on loss and helps to visualise the number of war dead. 

Poppies were a familiar sight on the battlefields of the Western Front, where they thrived in the devastated landscape.

The poppy has endured as a symbol of remembrance since Canadian poet and soldier John McCrae wrote his famous poem, 'In Flanders Fields'. It concludes with a plea: ‘We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields’.