Carlisle Gets Ready To Welcome Weeping Window


Carlisle welcomes a window of opportunity, as poppies flood the city to commemorate centenary of the First World War.  

A striking, sea of red will tumble from the top of Carlisle Castle, as an iconic art installation offers a chance to reflect on and connect with the sacrifices made during the First World War.    

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In a dramatic display, thousands of ceramic poppies will cascade from the top of the keep, arching over the inner ward wall and cascading down into the outer ward of the castle complex,  when the ‘Weeping Window’ of Poppies arrives in the city at the end of May.  

The ‘Weeping Window’ is one of two sculptures taken from the original ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation, created by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. Originally displayed at HM Tower of London in 2014, the artwork was made up of 888,246 poppies, one to commemorate every British or Colonial life lost at the front during the First World War.  

The UK’s arts programme, for the First World War centenary, 14-18 NOW, have been responsible for a UK-wide tour of the two installations, ‘Weeping Window’ and ‘Wave’. Together, made up of over 11,000 poppies, the sculptures have visited a number of places around the UK of particular First World War resonance. Following the end of the tour, they will become part of the permanent collections at the Imperial War Museums.

Carlisle is just one of only four venues to host the installation this year. For six weeks from 23 May – 8 July, the waterfall of poppies will flow down the Castle wall, highlighting the military barracks and parade ground where troops were housed and trained in preparation for front-line combat in the First World War.  

Having been the headquarters of the Border Regiment – one of the oldest in the British Army – throughout the First World War, the Carlisle Castle makes a fitting location to host the display as part of the final year of centenary commemorations. A total of 23,000 recruits passed through the castle during the war, with battles claiming 7,000 lives from the Border Regiment. The regiment was honoured with five Victoria Crosses. 

Andrea Selley, Historic Properties Director of English Heritage North said: “With the role Carlisle Castle played in the history of the north west and its extraordinary military legacy, we are privileged to host the Poppies here in Carlisle.   

“English Heritage is truly honoured to be part of this very special arts programme and particularly to be involved in the last year of the national Poppies tour. We know that the sculptures and the ethos of connecting people with the First World War will resonate with our visitors, and these 47 days with the Poppies on site will be seen as the next chapter in Carlisle’s history.”   

With the installation set to be extremely popular, English Heritage are enlisting an army of enthusiastic volunteers to help welcome and support those visiting the ‘Weeping Window’. An open day held for aspiring volunteers saw over 100 local people hoping to get involved. This overwhelming response gives a glimpse at just the scale of anticipation building, as the community awaits the installations arrival.  

The ‘Weeping Window’ looks set to receive a very, warm welcome indeed.  

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