With 2014 marking 100 years since the outbreak of WW1, the Tower of London honoured the centenary in a memorable way with its striking poppy installation.
Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red featured tens of thousands of ceramic poppies filling the moat of the historic building. A total of 888,246 flowers were placed, with each one representing a British or Colonial military fatality during the conflict.
Created by Paul Cummins and set by stage designer Tom Piper, the incredible sea of red encircling the Tower was a very powerful commemoration and it really seems to have hit a chord with the public.
Ceramic artist Paul got the idea for the breathtaking Tower of London poppies after finding the will of a Derbyshire man who had died in Flanders amongst other old records in Chesterfield.
He was inspired by the moving words in the document, particularly the line: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread’
Paul admits that the public’s response was a ‘massive surprise’. Woman’s Weekly Editor Diane Kenwood visited the display and found it stunning.
‘Everyone’s taken it to heart,’ Paul told the BBC.
‘It’s not really my project anymore, it’s everybody else’s. I hope everybody just gets the simplicity of it.’
The Tower of London poppies have been so popular that some, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, even called for the installation to remain in place after Armistice Day on 11 November.
But Paul never envisioned it being permanent as he wanted it to show how life is fleeting.
‘The idea was it will only be there for a finite time like we are,’ he said.
All of the poppies were sold to members of the public, with proceeds being split equally between the six service charities.
A team of volunteers began removing them from the moat on Wednesday 12 November ready to send them on.
Those who missed out on buying one of the Tower of London poppies can still make a dedication via the Tower of London website