Showing posts with label Historic Royal Palaces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historic Royal Palaces. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tower Poppies

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

On the first of November we went to the Tower of London to see the Tower Poppies.

I had been by myself a couple of months before, in early September, one month after they had begun installing 888,246 poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Our journey walking from London Bridge station, took us past HMS Belfast with its remembrance poppy.
'HMS Belfast wasn't in the First World War, it was launched in 1939
at the beginning of the Second World War.'

Stepping off Tower Bridge these were the first Tower Poppies we saw.

Then walking up the West side, I saw how the field of poppies had grown in the last two months,
from this,

to this.

Each poppy represents a life,  a British military fatality in the First World War.

Volunteers will have planted all the poppies, in just over three months.

I wondered what kind of people had volunteered and what their reasons may have been for doing so.

Whether volunteers were perhaps planting poppies in remembrance of relatives who served and died in the First World War.

I have no family history to tell my children of lives lost in the First World War.
But I tell them about my granny, who in her seventies, once showed me a letter that her father had sent her from the trenches, with a drawing of a flower and mud on it. When she died, my mum hunted high and low, and much to all our disappointment the letter was never found.

We have spent the last few weeks building up a picture of the First World War, listening to 'Horrible Histories' in the car and during the half-term break last week we went to Vimy Ridge, a First World War battlefield in Northern France, with cousins. (I'll post about that trip soon) We were all captivated by the tunnels, trenches, bomb craters and stories of fighting, communications, living conditions and truces.

So when we met back up with the same cousins, just a week later, to see the Tower Poppies, I felt that our kids had in their minds, a little of the 'bloody' context for these flowers.

And it was difficult not to be overwhelmed at their number.
A sea of red below us!

The number of visitors coming to see Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red has made the news, with surrounding road and tube closures essential to manage the crowds, 

It was busy, very very busy.
But we all agreed, between aged ten to seventy-three, that it was worth it.

On the way home my youngest two asked whether they would do that again to mark the 200 year anniversary. "You would have to live to 111 years old to be around for the 200 year anniversary".
 We talked about how things can get forgotten and whether there would maybe be other wars in the next 100 years that we would need to remember.

This installation was designed by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, in the words of the Tower website, 'creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower
but also a location for personal reflection'.
I think they achieved that.

The last poppy will be planted on the 11th November 2014.
Details on the website here.

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