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Changing Times

Following immediate, post-war visits by Field Marshal Montgomery, General Eisenhower and Wilfred Paling, the Minister of Pensions, the Factory reverted to its pre-war spread of production. In 1946, at the age of 82, Colonel Robertson VC resigned as chairman of the Council having served for 20 years.

Then, in 1950, the introduction of purchase tax on raw materials heralded the slow decline of non-core manufacturing. However, the factory retained the capacity to produce one-off items and some new lines including puppets and jewellery were introduced.

In 1955, the Committee introduced a standard lapel poppy almost identical to the one we use today. At this stage, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory was still largely self supporting with any deficit being met by a grant from the Earl Haig Fund.

In 1965, the Factory was moved to its present location, an old printing works. It was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1966.

The Earl Haig Fund Scotland moved into the adjacent New Haig House in 1978 which was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 3rd of July that year.

From here on, the rising cost of the operation, which was principally due to government imposition, rendered self sufficiency ever more difficult while the increase in welfare benefits drastically reduced the number of people willing to work in the Factory. By 1975, the number of people employed had fallen to 51 with a waiting list of three while, by 1980, the number had fallen to 35 with no reserves.

New machinery enabled the annual poppy order to be fulfilled but the skills needed for all the other activities were no longer obtainable. By 1981, the Factory was facing a most uncertain future. At this stage, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory was being run by a Management Committee, appointed by the Council of the Earl Haig Fund, through its Manager, Major Simon Campbell, and under its Chairman, Col T.D. Purdie.  It was the former who played a vital role in determining a secure future.