Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory first opened in the grounds of Whitefoord House in 1926 and until 1966 it was located in Canongate. On 28th June 1966 the current factory premises at 9 Warriston Road were officially opened by His Royal Highness Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh. Currently employing 41 Disabled Veterans who hand assemble all of the poppies for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal and many thousands of wreaths, the premises are now in great need of refurbishment. 2018 will mark 100 years since the end of The Great War and the Poppy Factory have already begun their work for Poppy Appeal 2018. An award of 2.2 million pounds in funding from the UK Government will go towards the redevelopment of the Poppy Factory and will secure the long term future of poppy production and enhance the ongoing education programme. Ruth Davidson MSP and leader of the Scottish Conservative Party came to Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory today to personally congratulate the workforce on their achievements.
Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Bibbey said:
“We are delighted at the prospect of receiving this funding, which will go towards our exciting and ambitious plans for redeveloping the Lady Haig Poppy Factory. Our aim is to secure the long-term future production of poppies and to vastly enhance our educational output. The Chancellor’s award will help us towards making both of these ambitions a reality, creating a lasting legacy in the process.
“The coming year will mark an important milestone in our nation’s history as we reflect on the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War, and the sacrifices made by so many. The work of Poppyscotland is as vital today as it was back then. That is why we have a desire to redevelop Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory to ensure the poppy, and the life-changing support for the Armed Forces community it enables us to provide, can flourish well beyond next year’s centenary.”
The Lady Haig Poppy Factory employs of 41 Armed Forces veterans who hand assemble more than five million poppies and 15,000 wreaths every year. In August, it became an accredited Living Wage Employer.
The original factory was opened in March 1926 by Countess Haig, wife of the Field Marshall, to address the shortage of poppies that were available for sale in Scotland at the time. The first poppies were made by two ex-Servicemen and a pair of scissors but the Factory quickly grew to a team of 28 men who had been disabled during the First World War. It moved into the Warriston Road site in 1965 but the building is in urgent need up upgrading.
Many of the workers have been with the factory for a great number of years and there is a palpable feeling of the military about the place that provides a comfortable and secure atmosphere, for both visitors and staff alike. All work hard to ensure it remains a happy and productive place.
The factory also processes more than 25,000 collection tins as well as making up and dispatching orders to Poppy Appeal Area Organisers all over Scotland. In addition, workers make Remembrance Crosses, Long Stemmed Poppies and Dress Poppies for sale to the public via the factory.