Poppies for Remembrance
McCrae’s poem in turn inspired an American academic, Moina Michael to make handmade red silk poppies which were then brought to England by a French lady, Anna Guerin. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of the poppies which they sold on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever 'Poppy Appeal' raised over £106,000, a huge amount of money at the time.
The following year, Major George Howson, who had received the Military Cross for his role in the First World War, set up a factory off the Old Kent Road in London where five disabled ex-Servicemen began making poppies. 3 years later the Poppy Factory moved to its current site in Richmond, Surrey and today produces millions of poppies each year.
Such was the demand for poppies in England in 1922 that few were reaching Scotland. Earl Haig's wife established the 'Lady Haig Poppy Factory' in Edinburgh to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland. Over 5 million Scottish poppies (which have four petals and no leaf unlike poppies in the rest of the UK) are still made by hand by disabled ex-Servicemen at Lady Haig's Poppy Factory each year.