Date Published 10 November 2014
Since their Royal unveiling over the summer, the ceramic poppies of the Tower of London have been a huge attraction in the capital. People have visited from all over Europe to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the First World War, marking the centenary year since the outbreak in poignant fashion. However, amidst calls for the 888,246 poppies to remain at the Tower from politicians as a mark of prolonged respect, it has been revealed that they will be removed as planned from the 12th November.
Nick Clegg recently joined Boris Johnson in calling for an extension of the display created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper. Clegg said last week that the display had 'really struck a chord' and expressed his hopes that it would remain in place for at least the duration of Remembrance Week. 'It is speaking to something very profound in people, that people want to be connected to our history. They want to trace their own family's history to this huge act of national self-sacrifice. These ceramic poppies have really symbolised that.'
Despite these calls for an extension, the governing bodies of the display are refusing to budge. Remembrance Day itself was always intended to be the last day that they would be on show, and after that each individual poppy will be sent off to those who have purchased them. Another reason to not prolonging the display is the artistic concept behind the display: the idea of remembrance and temporality.
'We have been overwhelmed by the public support for Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, our installation of ceramic poppies in the moat at the Tower of London,' the Tower said in a statement. 'It has always been intended that the poppies will be in place until 11 November 2014 and after this time they will be cleaned and sent out to all those that have purchased them. The transience of the installation is key to the artistic concept, with the dispersal of the poppies into hundreds of thousands of homes marking the final phase of this evolving installation.
'We are currently planning further ways in which the Tower of London will be marking the coming years of the centenary and the legacy of the poppies in the moat.'
As things stand, a team of 11,000 volunteers will remove them next Wednesday and they will be sent to the hundreds of thousands who spent £25 each for one of the poppies, with all the money going to six charities providing support to service personnel, veterans and their families.