Paul Cummins’ ceramic poppies were first seen as part of Tom Piper’s installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London in 2014. This comprised of over 800,000 poppies. Since then, they have toured around the country from Southend on Sea to Orkney and many places in between. For some reason I had not managed to coincide with them at any point so when I heard that The Weeping Window would be nearer home, we decided to visit. The car park is on the site of a demolished factory and nearby there are derelict buildings along the Trent & Mersey Canal.
You can also get your supply of Staffordshire oatcakes at a nearby narrow boat.
Walking along the path to Middleport Pottery where the installation was sited, we passed a wall with ceramic mosaics.
Middleport is still a working pottery, making Burleigh ware and glimpses of moulds could be seen through some of the doors.
It is possible to have a tour of the factory if you wish. The pottery also holds workshops and other events. There is also a tea room, factory shops and galleries where some local artists and jewellers exhibit. The buildings are run by the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust and an upcoming project of theirs is to renovate some terraced houses in a nearby street and create space for workshops, offices, archives and a community centre. The terraced houses in the same street as the pottery have also been renovated.
The installation is part of a larger World War One Trail around the city entitled Stoke on Trent Remembers. Weeping Window continues here until September 16th and is free to visit. It moves to the Imperial War Museum in London afterwards and the other installation, The Wave will be at the Imperial War Museum of the North in Manchester. I might be planning some canal walks for next year.