18th April 2018 David Findlay

New flood gates with artwork featuring an inlaid carved poppy motif have been installed at the Warriston Viaduct beside Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory today. The gates, which form part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Water of Leith Flood Prevention scheme, were “adopted” by staff at the historic Poppy Factory and will prove to be something of a local attraction as well as being wholly practical.

Manager at the factory Major (Rtd) Charlie Pelling said: “We have agreed to take ownership of the artwork on the gates as our continuing contribution to supporting the local community. This means that one of the disabled veterans at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory has spent a great deal of time preparing and painting the poppy boards that fit into each flood gate adjacent to the factory entrance on Warriston Road.

“This has been a time consuming and skilful job, and we are absolutely delighted with the result. The gates look vibrant, enormously colourful and completely appropriate, and I believe they will become very popular with residents and visitors alike.”

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes, from the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see this artwork in situ on the flood gates, adding a touch of colour to the banks of the Water of Leith. By carving poppies into the gate timbers, we wanted to recognise the significance of Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory to the area, which suffered substantial damage as a result of floods in 2000.

“Thanks to the Poppy Factory, who have gone a step further to paint and maintain the artwork timbers. This will further improve the surroundings at Warriston Road, which benefits from the Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme.”

The factory employs a team of 41 Armed Forces veterans with a range of disabilities who, between them, hand assemble more than five million poppies and 12,000 wreaths every year for the Scottish Poppy Appeal. It was set up by Lady Haig – wife of Field Marshall Earl Haig – in 1926, and, in August last year, it became an accredited Living Wage Employer.