A staggering 360,000 visitors came to see Liverpool’s poignant tribute to those who lost their lives during conflict.
The Poppies: Weeping Window became part of the fabric of the city for 72 days, as more than 6,000 poppies cascaded down the façade of St George’s Hall.
The display was from installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red which was created to mark the centenary of the First World War and was originally at HM Tower of London in 2014. It came to Liverpool as part of a UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW who are the national organisers of the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme.
In conjunction with the display, a participation programme was developed consisting of creative workshops, walking tours, photographic exhibitions and a specially devised Poppy Trail around the city. Thousands of people took part in the activities, learning more about the significance of the Poppies and Liverpool’s role during conflicts such as World War One.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It has been a privilege to be one of the first cities, outside of the capital, to host the Weeping Window.
“When we were successful in bidding for the installation we knew that it would be popular with residents and visitors alike – but to attract 360,000 people was way beyond our expectations and we are delighted the poignant message of the poppies has reached so many people.
“Regardless of wind, snow or rain, visitors have headed to St George’s Hall to admire the work, with our amazing event ambassadors being on hand in all conditions to welcome people and make sure they get the most out of the experience.
“We will be sad to see such a wonderful work of art leave the city, but it is so important that as many people as possible are given the opportunity to see the Poppies up close, and the tour will allow them to do just that.”
Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “We are delighted with the overwhelming response the poppies have received in Liverpool.
“14-18 NOW aims to encourage people to pause and reflect on the impact of the First World War through art, and it is wonderful that Weeping Window at St George’s Hall has given the people of Liverpool the chance to do this.
“We hope that many more people will be able to visit one of the extraordinary poppy sculptures as they continue to tour the UK.”
Throughout their ten week stay in the city, the Poppies proved to be an emotional work for many visitors, who then recorded their reactions on a Time to Reflect and Remember postcard. Some of the comments included:
A wonderful Poppy display that serves as a memory for us all. Kate, 45, Australia
For all the fantastic brave men and women who died to save us, including my Grandad’s brother Frank Armstrong. What a fantastic display outside St George’s Hall. I will never forget this and all the servicemen.
Colette, Mobile Alabama, USA
Today was a bittersweet day. My husband has dementia, but when he heard about the Poppies something registered with him, and we were able to come to see them, albeit for such a short time. I almost had my husband back, fleetingly. Wonderful experience.
Pauline Deeley, 71, Warrington
The Poppies made me remember all the sadness and pain, but also all those brave soldiers for fighting for our country. Will Carden, 10, Liverpool
I felt sad and cried as I thought of the lost lives and families. I would like to remember all those who have fought in wars. J Mawdesley, 46, Chorley
All the comments will be electronically logged and published on www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/poppies. People are still being encouraged to remember loved ones involved in conflict by uploading images or a short note on to the online Roll of Honour.
The Black Watch Museum in Perth will be the next venue to host the Weeping Window in June.