Education: Blackheath High School’s Poppy landscape

Students and staff at Blackheath High School transformed the school’s roof terrace into an art installation of acrylic poppies to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The tribute was commissioned by the school’s Artist in Residence, Mary Aspden, who was inspired by the John McCrae poem In Flanders Fields.

Over the past few weeks, girls at Blackheath High School have been working in their design & technology classes to make the poppies for the installation which will remain up for the rest of the month.

Each of the poppies on display are available to be sponsored by members of the school community for £5, with all the proceeds going to the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.

Sponsors are also given the option of having the name of a family member or friend who lost their life in the Great War engraved on the poppy’s petal.

Once the display is taken down, sponsors will receive their personalised poppies to keep as a souvenir of the installation.

The school hoped the display would honour the wartime efforts made by the staff and students a century ago, when many of them volunteered in the Red Cross and in a New Eltham factory painting aeroplane compasses to help during the struggle.

The rapid introduction of women into the workforce was of particular meaning to the girls’ school, founded in 1880.

Students Lottie Cannell and Fran Pineda-Robin in the poppies landscape

Rousing speeches to encourage girls to find meaningful work and the responsibility that came with being a part of the war effort characterised life at the school in wartime years.

During the war, the school field was also ploughed for use as allotments and many of the staff were appointed to important posts in the local community.

Headteacher Carol- Chandler Thompson said: “We have been delighted with the way our whole school community has supported our armistice centenary poppy installation, inspired by John McCrae’s poem; In Flanders Fields.

“Our design department and their team of student volunteers have been working hard to create this beautiful installation and parents and staff have generously sponsored a huge number of the poppies.”

“Alongside our annual Remembrance service, the installation is the culmination of events marking the 2018 armistice centenary which have included a school production of Oh What a Lovely War! and a lecture on the First World War in public memory.”

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