How Whitehall banned Legion
THE Royal British Legion was banned from selling poppies in Government buildings in the years following the end of the First World War.
Civil servants did not want to be pressured into supporting the appeal, according to Government papers obtained by The Mail on Sunday.
Both the Treasury and the Colonial Office refused to allow poppy-sellers to set up stalls at the entrances of their offices because they feared it would create an ‘awkward’ precedent.
The Legion’s first poppy appeal in 1921 was an enormous success and the event raised the then staggering sum of £106,000.
But civil servants snubbed the Legion in 1924 just as the charity was trying to build up support. In one internal Whitehall memo dated September 16, 1924, a Treasury official told a colleague in another department there ‘is a good deal to be said against admitting strangers within our doors’, before suggesting it might be worth trying to find some negative publicity about the charity.