Poppies at the Tower of London

Today, Peter and I made the long train journey into London to view an art installation in the moat of the Tower of London. The weather was drab and the clouds moved quickly overhead.

The installation – known formally as Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. It was created by artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper. It consisted of 888,246 ceramic red poppies, each representing a British and Colonial military war fatality.

The crowd was about 20 people deep. It took about 20 minutes to get to the moat wall/railing which was 10 steps down from the pedestrian walkway. Overall, people were polite and rotated out of the front row to allow others to see the poppies up-close. We only saw one woman almost kill herself by falling down two steps while she followed her friend toward the railing.

London is a mix of old and new architecture as seen in this photo, nevermind the washed-out sky.

Every poppy was handmade and added to the installation progressively by a team of about 17,000 volunteers who “planted” each poppy’s long black metal stem into the Earth, eventually filling the moat in a sea of red. On November 15, a team of 8,000 volunteers began delicately removing the poppies and packaging them for shipment to members of the public who pre-ordered them for £25/poppy.

Unfortunately, we missed the memo on the pre-order sale and the poppies were sold-out by the time the memo reached Maidenhead via carrier pigeon.

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