The Tower of London Remembers
04 August 2014
The Tower of London is hosting a dramatic tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War One, with a special art installation opening tomorrow.
The exhibition, which helps mark the 100th anniversary of the Britain’s entry into the First World War, is entitled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, and, when completed, will feature 888,246 ceramic poppies pouring out of the Tower of London and spreading into the tower’s dry moat and surrounding area.
Movingly, each crimson flower represents a British military fatality from World War One. The first poppy was planted on 17th July by YS Crawford Butler, the longest serving of the Tower of London’s ‘Beefeaters’, and the evolving installation will continue to grow throughout the summer, with over eight thousand volunteers helping to plant the poppies. The last poppy will symbolically be planted on Armistice Day, 11th November 2014.
The idea was conceived by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as a symbol of remembrance, creating a striking and emotive display which will be visible from the Tower’s surrounding region. The artists hope that it will serve as a poignant reminder of the great sacrifice of the boys and men who served in this most brutal of conflicts. They also hope it will be a place of peaceful reflection on the magnitude of the loss of life, as well as an inspiring setting for learning activities, to ensure that the legacy of WW1 is never forgotten.
Throughout the installation period, a roll of honour of 180 names of serving military killed during the First World War will be read out, and a single bugler will play the ‘Last Post’ bugle call. If you’d like someone’s name to be read out you can nominate a name on a weekly ‘first come, first served’ basis, with the name being included in the roll of honour for the following week.
It’s also possible to purchase one of the ceramic poppies for £25, with the proceeds being donated to six charities helping injured servicemen and women and their families. General the Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London, said: “The First World War was a pivotal moment in our history, claiming the lives of over 16 million people across the globe; its consequences have shaped our modern society. We hope that people across Britain, Europe and the rest of the world will join us by being a part of this unique moment which we feel reflects the magnitude of this centenary year.”
In order for us all to remember the fallen of the First World War, homes, businesses and public building across the UK are being asked to turn out their lights for an hour at 10pm, leaving only a single candle burning to commemorate the moment Britain entered the conflict.
Image credits: Photographs courtesy of the Historic Royal Palaces