Tower of London poppy display dismantledCultureArt
After winning the hearts of millions, the 888,246 ceramic poppies, planted as a tribute to those lost in battle, have almost completely been removed by volunteers.
More than five million people visited the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation, planted to honour every British and Commonwealth serviceman who died in the First World War. All the poppies have been sold for £25 each, with net proceeds, plus 10 per cent of every sale, being shared between six service charities – including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
David Cameron has also given a Tower of London ceramic poppy to each of the Commonwealth leaders attending the G20 summit in Australia. Cameron and his wife previously visited the tribute, along with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to plant poppies. The prime minister said of the memorial: “This is an incredibly moving yet stark reminder of how many people gave their lives in that conflict – and it reminds us of all those who have done so since then.”
The breathtaking, blood-red display filled the moat of the Tower, enabling onlookers to walk around the outside of the castle for an unrestricted view. Providing both an emotional reminder of the brave soldiers who fought for their country, and a deep appreciation of design and craftsmanship, it’s no surprise why this installation has become famous all around the world.
When it became clear that the exhibit was scheduled to end after Remembrance Sunday, a national campaign launched to keep the memorial open due to soaring visitor numbers. Because of it’s incredible popularity, two key parts will remain in place until the end of November: The Wave, which arches over the walkway entrance to the Tower, and the Weeping Willow, made up of a cascade of poppies spilling from the window of the castle. They will then embark on a tour of Britain before being given a permanent home at the Imperial War Museum.
Paul Cummins, the ceramic artist, and Tom Piper, the Royal Shakespeare Company set designer who created the stunning memorial, will be appointed OBEs for services to the arts in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
Photos: Rebekah Absalom