Tower of London poppy installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
Tower of London

In Flanders fields the poppies blow. . .

Yesterday I took the time to visit the Tower of London to see the poppy installation, entitled Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red. Since the 5th of August volunteers have been planting ceramic poppies created by artist Paul Cummins to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of World War I.

On Remembrance Day, the last poppy will be planted and will total 888, 246 – each representing one British and Commonwealth death during the war.

It is a beautiful exhibition and has attracted an estimated 1 million people every month. Its popularity has led to calls to keep the poppies longer so that more people can see it.

Tower of London poppy installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
Installation from the Thames side

I am really happy I had the opportunity to see it in person, but I found the selfies and ‘whooo look how much fun I’m having at a memorial for hundreds of thousands of people who died!’ picture-taking to be unsettling, if not inappropriate. The installation is amazing but my partner and I found it kind of hard to appreciate with all of the people milling around.

Still, the sea of poppies at the Tower of London was very poignant, bringing home the magnitude of deaths during the First World War – and it’s only a small fraction of the total number.

Volunteers will start taking down the poppies on Wednesday after Armistice Day, but it’s not too late to have a look – they have estimated that it will take three weeks to fully dismantle.

If you can’t make it down to London to see it there is going to be a national tour with smaller, temporary installations until 2018 when the poppies will be used for permanent exhibitions at the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester.

Here’s some awesome aerial drone footage, because my photos really don’t do the installation justice:

 How do you commemorate Remembrance/Armistice Day?


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