Makeover for historic Poppy factory

Poppy factory

Lady Haig's Poppy Factory in Edinburgh will close for around two years while major works take place

23rd April 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

An historic factory that supports one of Scotland’s longest fundraising appeals is being given a makeover.

Work at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, located close to the centre of Edinburgh, got underway last week, with the staff having recently made the move to a new temporary home at Redford Barracks on the outskirts of the city.

It is expected that the upgraded project will take two years to complete, with staff and machinery scheduled to return to the existing site in Canonmills some time in 2021.

Mark Bibbey, chief executive at Poppyscotland, said: “The redevelopment is much needed and will ensure the long term viability of the Factory and particularly, of course, the supported employment opportunities it provides for disabled veterans.”

The first Poppy Appeal took place in 1921 with poppies imported from France and in 1926 Lady Haig established Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in the Canongate, Edinburgh, which consisted of two men making poppies using paper and scissors. Demand for the poppies grew, and in 1966 Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory moved to Warriston Road, where it has been ever since.

The factory now produces five million Poppies and thousands of wreaths every year for the Poppy Appeal.

The upgrade will see health and safety compliance work undertaken, along with the removal of asbestos and the installation of a new fire suppression system.

Bibbey added: “Throughout the works period, there will be minimal impact to the production of poppies and wreaths. This will continue just as it has for the past 93 years, with a team of 34 veterans with disabilities hand producing more than five million poppies and 15,000 wreaths annually. Our temporary home at Redford is fully operational now that we’ve completed the quite a mammoth logistical challenge of moving our machinery, some of which is over 100 years old.”

Given that the Factory is now temporarily located at a military base, the public will no longer be able to collect orders or visit the site, but wreaths and other items can be ordered online.