Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Inappropriate use of poppy wreaths

Posted on by royvickery |

Elsewhere on the website we have noted the growing tendency to place poppy wreaths on memorials which have nothing to do with the First World War and subsequent military engagements.  As an example we mentioned the placing of a wreath on a drinking-fountain on Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, commemorating Joseph James Jones, who promoted organised games for boys.  The fountain was erected in 1938, so even if Jones wasn’t a participant in the first World War he presumably lived through it.

More bizarre is the placing of two poppy wreaths at the base of the bust of Joseph Paxton, in Crystal Palace Park, London Borough of Bromley.  Today Paxton is best remembered for as a designer of glasshouses, including the Crystal Palace which he designed for the Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park in 1851, and moved to south London, where it stood from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936.  As Paxton died in 1865 the placing of poppy wreaths on his memorial seems anachronistic and inappropriate.  One of the wreaths has a label attached which might explain things, but unfortunately this is no longer legible.

Update 19 November 2017:  It appears that no wreaths were placed on the memorial in 2017; there are remains of two wreaths, presumably the ones left there in 2017.

3 December 2018 & 11 November 2019:  No sign of any wreaths on the Paxton memorial.

Updated 13 November 2019.

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