Poppy sculpture returns to Derby

Part of the iconic Tower of London poppy sculpture created by Derby artist Paul Cummins will be returning to the city where it originated in just a few weeks.

Weeping Window from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red will cascade down the historic Silk Mill in the centre of Derby from June 9 until July 23.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, has been touring the UK to give people the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculpture in a range of places of particular First World War resonance.

During the First World War, Derby Silk Mill was divided into two businesses one grinding corn and the other making medical supplies, both scarce by 1916, and integral to the British war effort.

Derby as a whole played a vital part in production during the course of the First World War with Rolls-Royce developing the Eagle Engine at the request of the government to power allied aircraft.

As Derby Silk Mill: Museum of Making, the building now holds a great number of industrial and social history objects which help to tell the stories of Derby’s companies and its communities.

The original installation designed by Tom Piper consisted of 888,246 poppies – one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

The two poppy sculptures, Wave and Weeping Window, which together have over 11,000 poppies, have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums.

Many Derbyshire artists were involved in the making of the poppies in 2014 and you can see how they did it by watching the video below.

As part of the celebrations marking the arrival of the sculpture, the Derby Book Festival will be hosting Sebastian Faulks in conversation with James Naughtie, BBC News’ Books Editor, at the Cathedral on June 9 at 7.30pm.

Faulks’ latest book, Where My Heart Used To Beat, returns to what has become a recurring theme in his novels, war and love. It is a tender portrait of a man and a century.

Probably his best-loved novel, Birdsong, vividly depicted a British soldier’s experience on the front line during the First World War.

After the event, you will be able to follow a Fire Trail to The Silk Mill to view the Weeping Window exhibition.

Viewing the poppies is free but you will need to have a ticket for the Sebastian Faulks talk. Go to http://www.derbybookfestival.co.uk for details.