Britain declared war on Germany at 11:00pm on the 4th August 1914, and ended when the armistice was signed on the 11th November 1918. The Tower of London was where more than 1,600 men swore an oath to the crown after enlisting for war. It was also used as a military depot, ceremonial setting-off point for regiments who had been stationed there and the execution location for 11 German spies.
‘The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ exhibition has been created by Derbyshire artist Paul Cummins. It involves ceramic poppies being planted in the moat at the Tower throughout the summer by of team of volunteers.
Each of the poppies represents every British and Commonwealth soldier who died during the Great War. The poppies, which are hand-sculpted and fixed to two-foot metal stalks, are currently being planted in the ground. By Armistice Day on the 11th November 2014, there will be 888,246.
More than 100,000 people have bought a ceramic poppy from the Tower of London’s art installation and demand is growing. Each poppy is the size of a man’s fist and fixed to a two-foot metal stalk so it can be planted into the ground. They are for sale for £25 each. They have raised more than £2.5million in just two days, the profits of which will go directly to six charities for servicemen and women.
Mr Cummins said ‘I’ve been staggered by the response and support from members of the public, When I had the idea, I never imagined the reaction would be so overwhelming. I think that it is something everybody can relate to and they feel very personally about.’ The artist had the idea for the installation after reading the will of a Derbyshire man who joined up and died in Flanders.