The Tower of London Remembers

One hundred years have passed since the First World War and the stories are fading away from our memory. To keep them alive, 888,246 ceramic poppies – each poppy represents the British and Colonial soldiers killed during the war – have been ‘planted’ in the moat of the Tower of London, marking the one hundred years since Britain’s involvement in the First World War.

The first poppy was planted by Yeoman Warder Crawford Butler on the 5th of August and since then volunteers have filled the dry moat with hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies, turning it into a sea of red. The spectacular display can be seen until the 11th of November, when the last poppy will be planted. Over the weeks following, the poppies will gradually be removed. The art installation is called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, created by Paul Cummins (ceramic artist) and the setting designed by Tom Piper (stage designer). According to Tom Piper, it would’ve taken one person “three and a half years to place all the poppies” and therefore they worked with 150 volunteers.

All of the 888,246 ceramic poppies have been sold for £25 each and the money raised will be shared equally amongst six service charities, which includes the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes. By selling all of the poppies they have raised millions of pounds for the charities! You can also make a dedication in honour of someone or simply donate to show your support.

As the display is almost at its peak, the moat around the Tower has almost been filled up, but you can still watch the progress until the 11th of November at the iconic landmark. Every day at 4.45 pm, a bugler plays the Last Post and reads the names written on the Roll of Honour. As it will be very crowded, the best position to hear and see is to stand on the west side of the Tower Hill on the terrace above the moat. This will give you a stunning panoramic view as well. Another tip is to come very early for this spectacle! When you get to Tower Hill by tube, make sure to get your first glimpse from near the underpass, as you will see the stream of flowers coming out from the Tower into the moat! Of course, you can also walk round the Tower, but bear in mind that it will be very crowded and difficult to pass. Don’t try driving across Tower Bridge; the wall is very high, so you won’t be able to see the poppies (not even by coach). Do take bus number 15 and sit on the deck (on the left going west, on the right going east).

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Poppies at the Tower of London image by Martin Pettitt and Poppies stream out from the Tower image by Paul Pitman.