Looking back at the Tower Poppies

One year after the final poppy was planted; we take a look back at some of the memorable moments from ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, the installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The making of the poppies

Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies was handmade in Derbyshire. Workers at Paul Cummins’ studio rolled, cut and shaped poppies by hand, making each one an individual and totally unique.

See how the poppies were made

The clay petals are molded by hand to form poppies.
The clay petals are molded by hand to form poppies.

17 July 2014 – first poppy planted

The first ceramic poppy was planted in the moat of the Tower of London by our longest serving Yeoman Warder on 17 July. Over 20,000 volunteers would go on to plant the remaining 888,245 poppies in the following months. Each poppy represented a British or Colonial military fatality in the First World War.

See how the poppies were installed

The first poppy is planted by the longest serving Yeoman Warder
The first poppy is planted by the longest serving Yeoman Warder

5 August 2014 – official opening

The installation was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on 5 August. Each member of the Royal Party planted their own poppy in remembrance and met with representatives from the six military service charities who would go on to benefit from the sale of the poppies. We expect to raise just over £9m for the charities.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Tower Poppies
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Tower Poppies

8 October 2014 – visit from HM The Queen

On 8 October the installation was viewed by HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh after they attended a service at the newly restored Chapel Royal of St Peter Ad Vincula. At the center of the installation, HM The Queen was presented with an iron wrought wreath made of poppies.

HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh view the Tower Poppies
HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh view the Tower Poppies

11 November 2014 – final poppy planted

On 11 November at 11.00 the final poppy was planted by a young cadet in a ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day. Following the planting, the last post was played and a two-minute silence was observed.

The final poppy at the Tower of London is planted by a young cadet
The final poppy is planted by a young cadet

For more moments from the installation, watch the short video below.

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