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Stunning Response to Poppies

November 2nd 2015
As the poppies from the iconic sculpture are carefully dismantled and packed away for transportation to Liverpool, the next venue on the national tour, Woodhorn’s director Keith Merrin talked about the public reaction to the Weeping Window visit to the Northumberland museum.
“It’s been an amazing seven weeks with an astonishing 125,000 visitors coming from far and wide to see Weeping Window at Woodhorn Museum: more than our normal annual number. It was a huge honour to be the very first venue on the UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW, and the public response has been outstanding.
“We wanted something that communicated with local people, and the fact that it cascaded from the top of the pit wheel gave the sculpture a whole new meaning. It looked spectacular and really resonated with people who saw the pit head as a symbol of the North East.”
Keith continued, “Whilst on site the visitors made over 9,000 tissue-paper poppies, staff dealt with 5,000 queries at the pop-up archives stall and over 4,000 school pupils visited. My favourite statistics are that we sold over 7,000 Poppy Scarves in the shop and got through over 50,000 metres of toilet roll across the site!”
During the poppies installation at Woodhorn, visitors were invited to share their personal thoughts on seeing Weeping Window and record their own act of remembrance by taking part in an artist led activity. Special stamps designed by artist Theresa Easton and inspired by content from the Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn allowed people to create and write with own Postcard to the Past. Thousands of these cards now cover the walls in the Workshop Galleries creating an immersive collage, and this coming Remembrance Weekend the galleries will once again be open to allow visitors to read and reflect on the many touching and poignant messages. Staff will be offering poppycraft for younger visitors.
Wave (currently on show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

The installation at Woodhorn was made possible with the support of a host of local funders, partners and sponsors who came together at short notice to ensure that the sculpture could come to Northumberland including: 
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Northumbrian Water 
  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Trusts and Foundations
  • The Adderstone Fund (CF)
  • The Asian Fund (CF)
  • The Barbour Foundation
  • Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust
  • The GS May Family Fund (CF)
  • The Hadrian Trust
  • The Linden Family Fund (CF)
  • The Lendrum Family Community First Fund (CF)
  • The Ridley Family Charity
  • The WA Handley Charity Trust
  • Vital Northumberland (CF)