year millions of red paper poppies are produced by the Royal British
Legion as a symbolic gesture of remembrance for fallen soldiers. We
share the behind-the-scenes story of the iconic paper poppy.
red Flanders poppies grew in their thousands on the scorched earth of
First World War battlefields, flourishing even in the middle of chaos
and destruction. As a tribute to the fallen, remembrance poppies have
been worn since 1921, the year the Royal British Legion was founded.
Originally made from silk, today’s memorial poppy is made of paper, using both traditional and modern-day techniques.
the poppy starts its life at the James Cropper paper mill, located in
Burneside, just north of Kendal. James Cropper has been producing ‘poppy
paper’ for over 40 years, though the mill began papermaking much
earlier, in 1845.
Legion contacted James Cropper in 1978 when they were looking for a
colour-fast and biodegradable paper alternative to the fabric poppy. The
request was ahead of its time, as they wanted to make certain that
going forward the global symbol of remembrance could be easily recycled.
there is more to this iconic emblem than at first meets the eye – the
technical team at James Cropper developed a vibrant colour-fast paper
that doesn’t rub off onto clothing and holds its shape when crimped – it
can be worn with confidence the world over.