Remembrance Day talk: The poppy and us

American soldier in an opium poppy field

American soldier in an opium poppy field - Credit: Archant

Dr Jenner’s House & Garden in Berkley has invited Dr Nicholas Saunders from the University of Bristol to give their regular Remembrance Day talk on Thursday, November 14.

Early poppy sellers' ID badge

Early poppy sellers' ID badge - Credit: Archant

The talk is entitled “The Poppy: A Cultural History from Ancient Egypt to Flanders Fields to Afghanistan” and explores the relationship through history between the iconic flower and humanity.

Ypres reservoir cemetary

Ypres reservoir cemetary - Credit: Archant

In the aftermath of the horrific trench warfare of the First World War, the poppy – sprouting across the killing fields of France and Belgium, then immortalized in John McCrae’s moving poem – became a worldwide icon.

Earl Haigs appeal

Earl Haigs appeal - Credit: Archant

Yet the poppy has a longer history, as the tell-tale sign of human cultivation of the land, of the ravages of war, and of the desire to escape the earthly realm through opium dreams or morphine drips. From the ancient Egyptian fights over prized potions to the addicts of the American Civil War, to the British entanglements in the Opium Wars with China and the struggle to end Afghanistan’s tribal narcotics trade, there is the poppy.

Nicholas J. Saunders of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol will share the definitive history of this ever-enduring flower which is also the title his latest book, published on October 17 this year.

Simon Hobson, Visitor Experience Manager at Dr Jenner’s House said:

We are delighted to welcome Nicholas to Dr Jenner’s House and Garden to give this year’s Remembrance Day Talk which discusses the most visible symbol and icon of the remembrance of conflict – the poppy. This event is especially significant as we are about to embark on the four-year commemorations of the centenary of the first world which the museum intends to mark with several events. We are very proud of our tradition of hosting Remembrance Day Talks at the museum, which are part of our Old Cyder House Talks programme. This year it is bigger and better than ever with seven further talks on a wide range of different topics scheduled between now and March 2014.”

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The talk will be given on Thursday, November 14 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £10 (£7.50 for Berkeley residents), which includes wine and nibbles available from 7:00pm.

Seats may be booked in advance by contacting the museum on: 01453 810631

or email:

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