Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


The last poppy will be planted tomorrow at 11am at the Tower of London - 11 November 2014

Over 100 years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month representatives of France, Great Britain and Germany met at a secret location, north of Paris to end the Great War.
~ Tower of London, November 2014
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red ~

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, at the Tower of London was commissioned and installed to commemorate this event, which took place 100 years ago tomorrow.

In total 888,246 ceramic poppies were made, representing the number of British military fatalities during that war. Over the last three months all except for one have now been planted in the Tower of London's moat.  Created by ceramicist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper the impact of this most thought provoking and spectacular art installation is incredible.

~ Tower of London, November 2014 ~
Seeing it for the first time on Saturday night, I was struck by the scale.  I hadn't realised before that they are planted all the way round the Tower of London's circumference and it's a huge site.  When I first arrived, I looked down into the moat and my first thought was that it really did look like a sea of blood, the way the poppies had been packed in, in rows upon rippling rows. It was stunning and undiminished by the gathering gloom of the cold and rainy night. Despite the weather there was still a good number of other visitors walking around the perimeter. 

I kept walking onwards thinking the installation would reach its end, but the poppies kept beckoning me forwards, until I realised there was no end, remembrance to infinity. 

Fascinated by people's different responses I overheard scraps of information as this moment was intimately shared; "The poppies have all been sold", "Stand there, I'm either getting you or the poppies", "There's one for every person who died". Everywhere phones and cameras were held upright to capture the sight, people taking selfies and someone positioning their terrier to take a picture.  None of this however was out of place, there was a general feeling of hushed respect. The significance of this sea of blood was too impossible to ignore, the scale too vast for anyone to be unaffected.

~ Tower of London, November 2014
Sea of poppies  ~
Every one of the 888,246 hand-made ceramic poppies has now been sold for £25.00 each with all the net proceeds going to six nominated service charities - Cobseo, Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

The first poppy was planted on 17 July by the Tower of London’s longest serving Yeoman Warder, with the official launch of the installation on 5 August.  Over the last few months around 8,000 volunteers have taken part in planting the poppies over a staggering 16 acres, including my mother Judy and her band of buddies.  "It was an experience I will never forget, I am so glad I took part" said mum.

Tomorrow, on Armistice Day, 11 November 2014, the final poppy will be planted by a young cadet, who will place it in the moat before a lone bugler will sound the last post prior to 11am, after which the two minute silence will commence.

Click here to see photos I took last year of a field of real poppies outside Brighton in Falmer.

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