London’s Remembrance Day Poppies

At 11am on the 11th November 1918 World War 1 officially ended.

Since then, this day that was originally known as Armistice Day and later as Remembrance Day, remembers those that lost their lives for their countries. Parades and wreath laying ceremonies take place with most of the country stopping at 11am for one or two minute’s silence depending on where you are.

This year marks the centenary of the start of World War One.

London has chosen to commemorate this day by covering the lawn in the moat around the Tower of London with 888,246 ceramic red poppies that each represent a British death in World War 1. Over the summer, the poppies have been added one by one by volunteers with the last poppy to be planted on the 11th November.

Called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ this fabulous art installation is the work of British artist Paul Cummins and set designer Tom Piper. It is one of the most moving memorials¬†I have seen since the visiting the 9/11 Memorial in New York.

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

As you can imagine, the display has been incredibly popular. Tower Hill tube station was closed because of the congestion on the day we visited and the paths were packed as we walked from nearby Monument station. Even so, everyone politely took their turn at the railings and we were able to see this wonderful sight from a few different vantage points.

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

It’s hard to see in the shadows but on this side, poppies flow from one of the windows in the Tower.

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

And from the Thames River side, a cascade of red poppies comes over the bridge to the Tower…

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

 

London's Remembrance Day Poppies

The poppies have all been sold and the installation was due to be dismantled after November 11th but it has just been announced that the display will remain for an extra fortnight before two parts of the installation will go on tour before finally finding a permanent home in the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester. If you’re lucky enough to be in London and haven’t seen this, it really is one display not to be missed!

 

Were you able to see the poppies? Did you find it a moving display?

 

 

You may also enjoy:
Anzac Day at Villers- Bretoneux
Albany’s ANZAC Centenary

 

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12 Responses to London’s Remembrance Day Poppies

  1. Renuka November 12, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    So beautiful! I didn’t know about Poppy Day celebrations that it’s observed in remembrance of people who lost their lives in World war I. Looks like a sweet festival.

    • Jenny Freedman November 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

      Many countries take part in the Remembrance Day services. The name was changed to Remembrance Day after WW2 so that all servicemen who lost their lives in subsequent wars could be remembered.

  2. Krista November 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    What an incredible sight! I can only imagine how much work went into creating it.

    • Jenny Freedman November 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

      It really was amazing to see Krista…it must have taken ages to plan and commission the poppies.

  3. Karen (Back Road Journal) November 13, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    What an incredible and moving memorial to the lives lost in WWI. Thank you for sharing your photos, Jenny.

    • Jenny Freedman November 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      It was one of the most beautiful memorials I have seen Karen.

  4. Pete November 14, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    This is probably one of the most amazing tributes to the fallen. I mean, you have your statues and monuments all over the world, but this is unique and beautiful and will be remember long after its gone.
    I have some great aerial photos of this poppy tribute and it is breath taking.
    Wish I could have seen it myself, rather jealous of my cousins that live in London and went.

    • Jenny Freedman November 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      I was very excited to be able to see it Pete. I was very moved by all the small cemeteries that were dotted over the landscape at Villers-Bretonneux but as far as memorials go, this was by far the most moving. The sheer number of poppies bought home how many lives were lost.

  5. Johanna November 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    My gosh Jenny, I wish I could have seen it in real life too. I loved your photos and I’m impressed that you say people treated the crush with some reverance and didn’t push and shove to the front but allowed everyone a turn to take photographs. I’m not surprised it was busy – yes it’s one of the most moving remembrance scenes I’ve ever seen too – albeit only virtually.

    • Jenny Freedman November 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      We were very lucky that our timing meant we were to be in London to see it. It was so busy that they decided to keep the poppies there for 2 weeks longer than was originally planned. You will be able to see part of it in the Imperial War Museum next time you’re in London Jo!

  6. jan November 25, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    This is the most amazing public display I’ve seen and what a great idea to sell most and put the rest in the war museums. Poppies are a very evocative sight for me – from a lone one growing in a field to a artificial one tucked into a memorial – this display is overwhelming.

    • Jenny Freedman November 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      It’s incredible isn’t it Jan. The sheer number of poppies that represented every British death in the war was very moving. It is certainly one I’ll not forget

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