Crowds flock to Poppy memorial

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The poppy display at the Tower of London has successfully brought in crowds of thousands.

The memorial was planned and constructed by British theatre designer Tom Piper and ceramics artist Paul Cummins.

Each poppy represents a British military fatality. It is said to be one of the most ‘haunting and emphatic’ displays for the anniversary and in recent weeks has attracted thousands from all over the world.

Cummins, 29, said: “It’s quite poignant with remembrance Sunday coming up, it’s nice to see that all these poppies are the reason we’re here.”

“I’m grateful for everyone that’s fought for the country, who has stood up and defended us over the years and those who still are now.”

A total of 888,246 ceramic poppies are to be planted around the Tower to commemorate 100 years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.

Vanessa Currier, 20, a Canadian living in London said: “You need to see the poppies. It’s a tourist attraction…They’re beautiful, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Cummins chose the Tower’s moat for its historic significance in WWI, when it was used to welcome in the tenth battalion of 1,600 men that enlisted in August 1914.

Sean Lancaster, 21, said: “‘It means a lot to me because I had three great uncles in the war. That’s pretty cool. My aunt is buying two poppies.”

However the poppy memorial has not come without controversy. Jonathan Jones, art critic for the Guardian said, “this is a deeply aestheticised, prettified and toothless war memorial. The moat of the Tower should be filled with barbed wire and bones.”

Regardless of negative comment, an online campaign has been set up urging the government to keep the poppy memorial at the Tower for another year.

The final poppy is due to be installed on November 11 by Cummins to signify the day the Armistice was signed.

Each poppy has been sold for £25 with 10 per cent of the proceeds going to charity.

  • Poppies at the Tower of London

Photography by Yifan Chen and Lauren Towner 

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