Crowds are flocking to Liverpool’s Poppies: Weeping Window since it officially opened on Saturday 7 November.
In the first week alone, around 150,000 people headed to St George’s Hall plateau to take in the stunning display of ceramic poppies as they cascade down the façade of the Grade I listed building.
The poignant reminder of those who have lost their lives during conflict drew large crowds on Remembrance Sunday, around 20,000 alone came to the Poppies on the afternoon of 8 November, following the annual service at the Cenotaph.
A short film shown on the Sunday on the giant Lime Street media wall which told the story of Liverpool’s involvement in World War One and outlines the subject matters covered in the Poppies Participation programme – Who Will You Remember – prompted a strong reaction, and as a result the ten minute film is now available to view on www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/poppies.
And people interested in the Poppies or learning more about the city and the War are being encouraged to take part in one of the many activities taking place as part of the participation programme. These include:
The Truce: Andy Edwards’ moving sculpture depicting the famous Christmas Truce of 1914 is on display in the Heritage entrance of St George’s Hall until January.
Songs on the Steps: Every Wednesday and Thursday from 25 November until 10 December, choirs from 20 schools across the city will perform on the steps of St George’s Hall next to the Weeping Window installation. Each afternoon from 1pm to 2.30pm, up to four schools will sing carols and wartime songs. Please note, if the weather is bad, the performance will take place either inside the marquee on the plateau or in the Great Hall.
Black Poppies installation: To highlight the plight of black soldiers, seafarers and workers in 1919, Writing on the Wall have curated a fascinating archive of letters and documents which aim to inspire people to make their very own black poppies in special workshops led by professional artist Faith Bebbington. Taking place on 5 December from 10am-4pm in The Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, anyone can attend and will have their creation displayed at Liverpool Central Library next to a specially commissioned poem by Levi Tafari. They will go on display in January.
Electronic Poppies: Arts organisation Metal have joined together with artist Laura Pulig who will become an artist in residence in St George’s Hall on 2nd, 3rd and 10th January. Laura will run workshops aimed at younger people using e-textiles, light responsive paper and inflatable sculptures to create a piece of art with a 21st century take on the poppies.
Tale of Two Cities: St George’s Hall plays host to this photographic exhibition depicting poppy planting around the city from 3 to Saturday 16 January.
Merseyside at War website: An online archive has been developed by Liverpool John Moores University and the office of the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside and they are asking for any stories or memorabilia relating to World War One to be submitted in order to create a lasting memorial. Visit www.merseyside-at-war.org to find out more.
Chinese Labour Corps: Highlighting the role of the Chinese men who were recruited by the government during the First World War to free troops for front line duty, a unique exhibition is on display until Wednesday 23 December at Pagoda Arts Centre on Henry Street in the city centre.
Stories in Stone: An hour long walking tour around the monuments and memorials of St George’s Plateau and adjoining St John’s Gardens. Led by Deborah Mulhearn, the ticketed event tells the stories of Liverpool at times of war through the eyes of local and visiting writers, including Helen Forrester, Wilfred Owen, Charles Dickens, Shirley Hughes, Nicholas Monsarrat and Beryl Bainbridge. The walking tour takes place every Wednesday and Saturday up to the 30 January and tickets can be purchased from the Tourist Information Centres at Albert Dock or in Liverpool Lime Street Station. Tickets cost just £5 for adults and £3 for under 16s.
Socks, Pin Cushions and Stories: Part of BBC Radio Merseyside’s Up for Arts – this World War One craft project encourages those inspired by the Weeping Window to create their own craft items to commemorate those who lost their lives through conflict. There will be a focus on women crafters of the period who made comfort packages for the troops. Workshops will be held at St George’s Hall from Saturday 2 to 16 January.
Silent Voices exhibition: This photo exhibition is made up of 24 pictures taken by children in Bil’in – a village in Palestine. On display in St George’s Hall from Saturday 2 until 16 January, it reflects the children’s lives, their surroundings and their hopes for the future.
Remembered?: Emerging from Veterans in Practice’s artwork, Remembered? Invites people to engage with local memorials and to think about the impact of these monuments have documenting lives lost. Taking place on Wednesday 13 January from 11am-2.30pm in FACT, a discussion will take place about how we choose what and whom to remember, reflect on how we might choose to commemorate in the future and contemplate what current and prospective methods imply about our own society. Veterans in Practice is FACT’s creative digital programme for military veterans. For more information visit www.fact.co.uk/get-involved/military-veterans. Tickets for the event are free but booking is required.
Poppies: Women in War: Telling the personal stories of women affected by war, this photographic exhibition displays striking portraits from the First World War to present day. Located in the Museum of Liverpool, there will also be workshops, craft and poppy making sessions to complement the exhibit. For full details visit www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/exhibitions/poppies-women-war/. It is on display until summer of 2016.
Liverpool Remembers Poppy Trail: To complement the Weeping Window, this trail has been produced which gives a suggested route around the city centre encouraging residents and visitors to learn more about those whose lives were changed forever by the war. It comprises of more than 20 locations throughout the city signposting people to memorials ranging from the Liverpool Pals Memorial at Lime Street Station, the Unknown Soldier in Exchange Flags and the Maritime Memorials at the Pier Head right through to buildings of historic interest such as Martins Bank on Water Street, Liverpool Town Hall and several of the city’s museums. Starting at the Weeping Window commission at St Georges Hall and finishing at the 14-18Now Dazzle Ship commission. A map can be downloaded from www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/poppies
Assistant Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Wendy Simon, Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, said: “We always knew the Poppies would be popular, but we’ve been overwhelmed with the reaction so far. November hasn’t given us the best of weather, but regardless of rain or wind, people have turned out in their thousands each day to see this amazing installation.
“It’s wonderful that there is such a strong participation programme to complement the poppies – we want to ensure people can be as involved as possible and learn all about Liverpool’s connections with World War One.
“Who Will You Remember offers many different activities for people, old and young to engage with, and as a result there will be a tangible legacy to the poppies being in the city.
“And with more activities taking place in December still to be announced, we’re hoping to encourage even more people in to the city to see the stunning Weeping Window and in turn take part in the thought-provoking participation project.”
Weeping Window is in the city until Sunday 17 January. The poppies are in the city 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.
The schools taking part in Singing on the Steps are:
Gwladys Street Primary, All Saints Catholic Primary, Our Lady and St Swithens, Bellerive High School, the Christian Fellowship School, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary, Wavertree Primary, Blackmoor Infants and Juniors, Sandfield Park School, St Paschal Baylon Catholic Primary, Emmaus School, Longmoor Primary, St Patrick’s Primary, Blessed Sacrament Primary, Little Explorers Nursery, Stockton Wood Primary, St Teresa’s Primary, Whitefield Primary and Pleasant Street Primary.
The school choirs have been supported by Resonate, Liverpool’s Music Hub.
Weeping Window and Wave are from the installation Blood Swept Landsand Seas of Red by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The original poppies concept was created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper. It was originally at the Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.