Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Poppy mania

Elsewhere on this website there are comments about the increased pressure being put on people to wear, and communities to display, red poppies in memory of those who have died in war.  Until comparatively recently poppy wreaths were placed on war memorials on Remembrance Day and removed within a couple of months, usually before Christmas; indeed it was thought disrespectful and slovenly for them to remain in place too long.  Today such wreaths stay in place throughout most of the year.

An extreme example of poppy mania is the placing of wreaths on monuments which have no relevance to the war dead.  On Tooting Common, at the junction of Dr Johnson Avenue and Tooting Bec Road, London Borough of Wandsworth, is a (long disused) drinking fountain, placed there in 1938, in memory of Joseph James Jones, ‘who founded a trust to encourage the playing of organised games by boys of local schools’.  This bears a British Legion poppy wreath, ‘from British Military Fitness – Tooting, In honor of the fallen’.

What is happening?  Was Jones a war hero?  Why did ‘British Military Fitness – Tooting’ feel it appropriate to place a wreath on his memorial?  It appears that their instructors are ex-servicemen who might want to remember their fallen colleagues, or are they simply trying to publicize their activities?

Update:  No wreath was placed on the drinking fountain in 2017; perhaps such inappropriate uses of poppy wreaths have come to an end?

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Image: 26 December 2016.

Updated 25 November 2017.

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