More than 65,000 visit Poppies: Weeping Window

Published: Friday, 7th September 2018

More than 65,000 people have visited Middleport Pottery to view the iconic sculpture since it opened to the public on August 2.

While Poppies: Weeping Window has drawn an incredible amount of attention from people in the local area with 92,000 tickets to date being ordered from the Staffordshire area, it has also attracted visitors from London, Liverpool, Chester and Birmingham. The sculpture has even captured the interest from those further afield with some international visitors coming from Dubai, Istanbul, Zurich, Auckland and Athens.

Free tickets to see the Poppies: Weeping Window at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent are still available to the public.

Commemorating the soldiers who fought and lost their lives during the First World War, Weeping Window – featuring thousands of ceramic poppies, the display is part of a UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Weeping Window is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept 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 for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War.

The sculpture will be displayed cascading down an iconic bottle kiln at the iconic factory daily until September 16.

Stoke-on-Trent was integral to the original installation, as a base for the creation of just under half of the ceramic poppies. The city also provided the clay that the poppies were created from.

Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council who is chair of the Poppies: Weeping Window steering panel said: “Poppies: Weeping Window is a truly inspiring artwork that is one of the nation’s favourite. To have it here in Stoke-on-Trent has been a honour and a perfect backdrop for such a poignant sculpture. Given this, it’s little surprise that audiences have flocked from up and down the country to visit it and even from as far afield as Athens, Auckland and Dubai. It’s also been amazing to see how many regional and local visitors have come to Middleport Pottery – this is civic pride and Stoke-on-Trent culture at its very best.”

United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust director said: “A sculpture as iconic as Poppies: Weeping Window was always going to appeal to visitors from all over the country. However, the number of visitors from the Stoke-on-Trent area has been staggering. For many, it’s the first time they’ve visited Middleport Pottery. It has been an absolute pleasure for us and the volunteers to welcome them here; to allow the space and opportunity to reflect upon this incredibly moving artwork while showcasing our rich and extraordinary potteries heritage and celebrating the talents of the contemporary makers based here.”

Stoke-on-Trent is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, and Middleport Pottery has been operating since 1889. During the First World War demand for the ceramics goods made in the area greatly increased. These included tableware for hospitals, homes and the military; propaganda-ware, including small ceramic tanks and battleships; plates with patriotic designs or messages on them; and ceramics to mark both the early stages of the war and the Armistice at the end.

Middleport Pottery is one of the last tour venues before Weeping Window moves to its final presentation at IWM London, after which it will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.

To see Weeping Window at Middleport, you must have a ticket. Tickets are available to book at: www.weepingwindowstoke.eventbrite.com

People who register will receive an email confirming the order with their ticket attached. They will need to bring it along to the event, either on mobile device or printed.

As Middleport is located in a residential area, it is essential that visitors plan ahead for their visit, particularly for travel arrangements. More transport details are available on the ticket page. A car park is provided which is a 10-minute walk from Middleport Pottery. Further information about parking, coach arrivals and Blue Badge / accessible parking is available via the ticket page. A residential parking zone will be in operation in the streets surrounding Middleport Pottery. A shuttle bus will be provided from the event car park for those with mobility issues to get to the venue.

People are also being encouraged to volunteer during the final two weeks that Poppies: Weeping Window is at Middleport Pottery. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact communications@stoke.gov.uk or to telephone 01782 234036 between 8.45am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and between 8.45am and 4.30pm on Fridays.

The tour has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Backstage Trust, the Clore Duffield Foundation and the National Lottery. DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW is delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation. Storage of the sculptures is generously provided by MTEC.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.