The Poppies at The Tower of London
Dear Mummy, you were so glad you had an opportunity to go up to London last weekend and see the Poppies at The Tower of London before they were all taken down. You visited the major art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London, which marked one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.
The poppy installation progressively filled the Tower’s moat between 17 July and 11 November 2014. (extended until the end of November due to so many people wanting to see them) Famous people had visited the site too, including the The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister David Cameron, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry to name a few. They all planted a poppy and paid their respects. By the time it reached the 11th November the art installation was in full glory. Helicopters took pictures from the sky, it gained international coverage as the moat looked filled with blood, against the grey dull skies of London.
We started our adventure at London Bridge following the masses across The Thames, stopping to take quick photos as we’ve never been here before. It’s very crowded and we can see the Tower of London ahead, lots of people are looking over the railings to take photographs. People from all over the world have visited today to catch a glimpse of this historic art installation.
The Thames side of the Tower still has a sea of red filling its moat, however, on the city side, volunteers are busy at work carefully removing them, large wooden hoarding blocks the view from the city and queues of tourists fill the tube station and the roads.
We didn’t have time to see the installation in its full glory, all 888,246 ceramic poppies, created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins. It seems after Remembrance Day everyone is here to see them! It’s very busy and crowds are drawn to The Tower of London to see the splash of red. We saw the remnants of them, half of them had gone last weekend, but it was still an awe inspiration sight. Stage designer Tom Piper who designed the installation did a fantastic job! Creating a waterfall of poppies cascading down from one of the windows (The weeping window) and the big splash, as my mummy likes to call it (pictured). The potters at Paul’s Cummins studio used techniques which were utilised by potters during the First World War to hand-make (Yes HAND-MAKE!!!) every single one of them! Woweee Mummy that’s a lot of man hours to create all those poppies! A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into making those ceramic poppies, but it couldn’t even come close the sacrifices of the servicemen and women those poppies represented. You see each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war. Seeing them all in one place is truly shocking and sad, my mummy imagines the poppies as a sea of faces and gets scared to look at them for a time, brushing away her tears, while tourists were scrambling around her for a better view.
My mummy thinks it will be a sad day when the final one is taken out, however on the bright side these poppies have found loving homes with families across the world and they will be treasured like the people they represent. Berkshire cadet Harry Hayes, 13 “planted” the final poppy…She wonders who will be the person to remove the last one?
All of the poppies that made up the installation were sold, raising millions of pounds which were shared equally amongst six service charities. The BBC reported that it was thought the sales could raise in excess of £15m which is great news for the charities listed below.
The poppies encircled the iconic landmark and it was intended to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary and create a powerful visual commemoration, even in all the hustle and bustle my mummy manages to bow her head in respect and take a time-out.
My mummy and Daddy are part of an estimated 5 million people who have seen the poppies so far..but don’t despair if you haven’t had the chance to see them! Thousands of poppies will go on tour before being permanently based at the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester. So you may get a chance to glimpse and pay your respects.
For more information visit http://poppies.hrp.org.uk
A humbling day out.
Love Bella…..oh and Mummy & Daddy x