Poppy Factory

From Historic England entry:

“The Poppy Factory, originally established by The Disabled Society in 1922 to make poppies for the second British Legion poppy appeal and staffed entirely by disabled ex-servicemen, moved from the Old Kent Road in the heart of working class South London to new premises on land in leafier Richmond in 1925. Aided by the Legion, this move made it possible to build flats to house the most severely disabled workers close to the factory. ‘It was not desired to seclude the men in the heart of the country’, reported the British Legion Journal (June 1925, p. 403). The Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone for Howson Terrace, 40-126 Petersham Road, Richmond in 1926. The brick terrace is in a rather severe Arts and Crafts style with reliefs on the facade showing poppy wreaths. The brickwork and mortar are of poor quality, probably indicative of the post-war shortages of material and labour.

The terrace provided flats with one, two or three bedrooms on two floors, the larger flats being needed because the Poppy Factory sought to employ men with dependents. Workers had to be assessed as at least 80 per cent disabled but were expected to cope without special adaptations. A residents’ bowling green and washing lines for the upstairs flats were provided, but there were no bathrooms or lifts. Subsequently other two storey-blocks were added behind the terrace, some bearing donation plaques including one from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1929, Princess Mary laid the foundation stone for a further block of flats facing onto Richmond Hill (nos. 45-67). This bears a plaque showing a hand holding up a Cross of Remembrance with poppies and also a carved lion’s head, symbol of the British Legion.”

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