The moat at the Tower of London will be filled with nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies this summer to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
Beginning on August 5th and ending on Remembrance Day (11th November), the dry moat will be turned into a sea of red as each poppy will mark the British or Colonial soldier killed during the conflict. There will be 888,246 poppies will be laid in the moat to represent the lives lost.
The poppies are currently in production by 50 potters at the Derby studio of Paul Cummins. Cummins was asked to create the poppies by Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that runs the tower.
When November 11th has come and gone, people will have the chance to buy the poppies at £25 per poppy, if all poppies that are made are then sold it will raise in excess of £15 million. That money will then be split between six armed forces charities including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
JUST ANNOUNCED: 888,246 ceramic poppies will fill the Tower of London’s moat to mark the First World War from 5 Aug pic.twitter.com/T29u1klvDw
— HistoricRoyalPalaces (@HRP_palaces) May 7, 2014
General the Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London said, “We want it to be epic but also personal. The whole moat will be filled with the poppies and it will be an amazing sight. The tower played its part in the war and over 1600 men swore their oath of allegiance in the moat in August 1914”.
The installation of the poppies, called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,’ is designed by Tom Piper an Olivier award-winning theatre designer who is currently attached to the Royal Shakespeare Company. He said “We worked it out that we need 50 poppies per square metre across 16 acres of moat. When you think of it in terms of pure logistics it gets very mechanical, but when you consider that each of these poppies represents a life, it becomes very poignant”.
Help for Heroes co-founder Bryn Parry also commented “It is almost impossible to imagine each of those poppies as a young, enthusiastic young person, now dead. We must remember them”.
The Tower of London, or Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress as it is also known, was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The tower has played a prominent part in history. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions and is protected as a World Heritage Site.
Photo Credit: ©Cindy Stockman 2010