Rowntree Park is a wonderful place for quiet personal contemplation, and many local people use spaces within the park throughout the year, to reflect and remember their loved ones. This October and November we are also remembering those affected by the First World War, with several installations and displays in the park.
- Within the Reading Cafe, we have installed images of local people who fought in the war, along with some souvenir material.
- Two information banners produced by Clements Hall Local History Group have also been set up in the cafe.
- A wall of knitted and crocheted poppies flows down from the cafe, to where a willow soldier sits quietly with a copy of the Cocoa Works Magazine, known as the Cocoa Times
- Other crafted items are placed in various locations
- Children have painted ‘Remembrance Rocks’ with words and images to do with remembrance, which are then hidden in various secret places for others to find
- Local arts collective ‘Northern Electric’ have created a sound trail called ‘Green in our Memory’ which is based within the park, and which can be found on the free app Situate
Our poppies are not just the ‘normal’ red poppies – you will see that they are of several different colours. Red poppies are worn to remember military personnel who have died as a result of war; they have been worn since 1921, and were originally inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ by John McCrae. White poppies are known as peace poppies, and are appropriate in the context of the park with its Quaker connections. There was originally controversy about white poppies, but this 1986 quote from the Bishop of Salisbury represents our view: “…there is plenty of space for red and white [poppies] to bloom side by side.” The idea of green poppies came from Seebohm Rowntree who said to the crowd on the park’s opening day, that he hoped that the park “might keep green in their memories, and those who were to come after them, the high ideals for which England had entered the war.” You might even be able to spot one purple poppy; purple poppies are for the animals who have suffered and died during wartime.
We hope that you will find time to visit the park and cafe whilst this material is on display and that you find your visit both evocative and interesting. We will leave a Memory Book by the display in the cafe, so that you can add any thoughts you might have.