Poppies steel the show in Egremont WWI exhibit

STEEL poppies by a Cumbrian blacksmith, artist and architect, commemorating the Battles of the Somme and Ypres, have popped up in Egremont.

This September an international_DSC3943 consortium of blacksmiths and farriers will come together to create a dramatic new cenotaph in Flanders to commemorate the Battle of Ypres – among them, West Cumbrian Alan Dawson.

Standing in front of the In Flanders Fields Museum at Ypres’ Grote Markt, and later moved to a permanent site adjacent to the German War Memorial Cemetery at Langemark Poelkapelle, Ypres Steel Poppies will stand seven metres tall, weighing 12 tonnes.

The 21st century cenotaph will feature the evocative image of a single Flanders poppy surrounded by a field of 2016 handcrafted steel poppies.

Some of Alan’s poppies, his sculpture; Transition and original sketches are available to view at Florence Arts Centre until August 7.

Alan said: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit this at Florence Arts Centre, particularly because of its relevance to our home of West Cumbria.”

His sculpture; Transition, is a spherical steel cage, containing the rocks found in West Cumbria that were responsible for it being the centre of the steel making process.

Alan explained: “They are coal, limestone and iron ore. Florence Mine produced the richest iron ore to be found anywhere in the world.

“I have gathered the ore contained in the sculpture from around Florence Arts Centre and it is fitting that it will be displayed there as part of the Ypres Exhibition.”

Some of Alan’s steel poppies will also be available to purchase throughout the exhibition. 2017 marks the centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, one of the most infamous of the First World War.

The Belgian town has become a symbol of the horror and loss of war, a place forever reflective of the conflict’s human sacrifice and destruction.

To finish off the exhibition the 1963 film: Jules et Jim, will be shown on Sunday August 7, at 3pm; in French with English subtitles.