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A Legacy of Service: The Poppy Factory's History and Impact

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of Richmond's streets, you'll find a heartwarming narrative stitched into the fabric of the town - the Poppy Factory.

Exterior of the Poppy Factory in Richmond London

Since its inception in 1922, this noble institution has been steadfast in its mission, providing employment and succor to countless veterans grappling with health conditions or disabilities. You can hear more stories about the Poppy Factory on our self-guided audio walking tour of Richmond, which you can experience at your own pace.

The Poppy Factory's most distinguished handiwork is, as the name suggests, the sea of red poppies it crafts each year for the annual Poppy Appeal. This initiative is spearheaded by the Royal British Legion, a charitable organization dedicated to the sustenance of servicemen and women, veterans, and their families.

The Poppy Factory, albeit discreetly tucked away from the gaze of passersby, is a crucial fragment of Richmond's historical tapestry. Since the days of the First World War, it has extended a lifeline to veterans with disabilities, offering them the dignity of purposeful work and easing their transition back into the fold of society.

Every year, the Poppy Factory in Richmond becomes a hive of activity, crafting millions of poppies, each a poignant reminder of a life sacrificed in service. These tokens of remembrance are sold worldwide, the proceeds directed towards uplifting veterans and their families. The Poppy Appeal has gradually woven itself into the country's annual rites, with citizens donning poppies as a silent tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of veterans.

Each year, on November 11, Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, the United Kingdom is shrouded in solemn silence. At 11am, a two-minute silence descends upon the country, honoring the sacrifices made by those who have served in the armed forces. The Poppy Appeal is a vital element of this commemoration, ensuring that the valiant sacrifices of veterans remain etched in the nation's collective memory.

A trove of knowledge awaits those eager to delve deeper into the legacy of the Poppy Factory. The visitor center offers a window into the organization's rich history, the noble work it undertakes, and the transformative impact it has had on the lives of countless veterans.

Many more Richmond stories and London walks await. Discover more local history with our Richmond audio tour, and see which nearby London neighborhoods you want to explore next!


Gesso was created for urban explorers who find joy in life's hidden gems. Find audio tours on the Gesso app, available via the App Store or Google Play, and share your London adventures with us on Instagram.


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