Poppies Weeping Window at Woodhorn

22 August 2016

Poppies: Weeping Window at Woodhorn Museum – part of 14-18 NOW tour - inspires record visitor numbers and benefits North East economy to the tune of £1.8million

Continues transformational impact of Museums & Archives Northumberland

22ndAugust 2016. Museums & Archives Northumberland today announces that the presentation of the Poppies: Weeping Windows sculpture at its Woodhorn Museum site, held between September and November 2015, achieved a gross visitor impact on the Northumberland economy of £1.8million.  The impact, calculated from research by DC Research, resulted from the display attracting 125,505 visitors in seven weeks, an increase of 119,000 on the same period in the previous year.

Woodhorn was the first site to host Poppies: Weeping Window on a UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW, the arts programme for the First World War Centenary.  Whilst the original sculpture tumbled from a window of the Tower of London, at Woodhorn it was set as a cascade from the winding wheel of the old colliery, now a scheduled ancient monument.  

The sculpture received widespread acclaim, striking a chord with the local community, regional and nation-wide visitors and national commentators as well as winning awards both for the event and for the volunteer team who helped make it possible.  At least 12% of visitors were from outside the region, who not only visited the display but also stayed overnight and accounted for 40% of the economic impact.   

Penny Wilkinson, Chair of Trustees of Museums & Archives Northumberland said, “To host the Weeping Window sculpture at our Woodhorn Museum site was a tremendous honour for Museums & Archives Northumberland.  The sculpture was a poignant way to remember the fallen, with over 2,000 men from Woodhorn Colliery serving in World War One and many thousands more from across Northumberland.”

“It was an incredible team effort not only from our employees but also the volunteer team who contributed more than 1,200 hours of time to deliver this project in 7 weeks from submitting our bid to opening the sculpture.  The success of the Weeping Window sculpture is representative of our ability, as an independent charity with generous support from funders, partners, sponsors and volunteers, to deliver high quality exhibitions and events at all of our museums and archive facilities across the county.  These inspire, engage and connect people to Northumberland and its history, enriching our communities and individual’s lives.” 

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said, “We are delighted that the presentation of Weeping Window was such a success at Woodhorn. Woodhorn Colliery played an important part in the war effort, not only for coal production, but also supplying skilled miners for the front. As the poppies tour the UK we have seen their incredible ability to bring generations together to share stories of the First World War, and this was certainly the case at Woodhorn.”

Councillor Val Tyler, Cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “It truly was an honour for Northumberland to host the Weeping Window poppies last year.  The poppies have an incredible ability to bring people together which was clear during their presentation at Woodhorn. The display is so iconic and seeing the flowers cascading down from the pit wheel was very special for our region."


About Museums & Archives Northumberland

Museums & Archives Northumberland, the public name for Woodhorn Charitable Trust, is an independent, award winning, transformational charity. It exists to inspire, engage and connect people to Northumberland and its history by running a high-quality network of museums and archives across the County.  These provide exciting and stimulating exhibitions, community outreach and educational programmes.  Each year many thousands of people either visit one of our sites or engage with our community projects or online resources.

Museums & Archives Northumberland operates Woodhorn Museum, Berwick Museum &Art Gallery, Hexham Old Gaol and Hexham Moothall, Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum, Northumberland County Archives at Woodhorn, Berwick Upon-Tweed Record Office and the bait Creative People and Places project.


About Weeping Window

Weeping Window is from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.


  • About the Poppy research, key facts, awards
  • Research report “Economic Impact of the ‘Poppies: Weeping Window at Woodhorn’ Installation – DC Research 2016.” 
  • Delivered in 7 weeks from bid to opening
  • Attracted 125,505 visitors in 7 weeks, an additional 119,000 to usual visitors for that time period
  • 4361 educational visitors
  • Gross visitor impact on the Northumberland economy was £1,799,370, net £817,799 (deducting visitors who’s visit may have displaced other activity within Northumberland)
  • 12% of visitors (9,867) were overnight adult stays from people outside the region.  These visitors accounted for £726,670 of the gross spend
  • Winner of Journal Culture Awards “Best Event Northumberland Winner 2015” and “Best Event North East Overall Winner 2015”; winner of Living North Museum of the Year 2015
  • Winner of North East Volunteer Awards 2015 - First World War Programme Award - Woodhorn Museum Weeping Window: Poppies volunteer team 
  • Annual visitor numbers for Woodhorn in 2015 were up by 132% boosted by the Poppy installation


Organisations who lent their support to Woodhorn for the presentation of the poppy sculpture


National Supporters

Arts Council England

The Heritage Lottery Fund

Backstage Trust

Clore Duffield foundation

Historic Royal Palaces

Department of Culture Media and Sport

Imperial war museum

DAF Trucks


Regional Supporters

Northumberland County Council

Northumbrian Water

Community Foundation

The Adderstone Fund at the Community Foundation
The Asian Fund at the Community Foundation
The Barbour Foundation
The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust
The G S May Family Fund at the Community Foundation
The Hadrian Trust
The Linden Family Fund at the Community Foundation
The Lendrum Family Community First Fund at the Community Foundation
The Ridley Family Charity
The W A Handley Charity Trust
Vital Northumberland at the Community Foundation


Media contacts

Ralph Charlton


07793 041987

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