Ever since I started visiting London, I promised myself that I would visit the Tower of London. However, it wasn’t until this year (2014) that I finally decided to visit the Tower to see the Poppies display. What made it special was the fact that 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. I felt it was a moment in history that I had to be a part of.
The Tower of London Poppies
The Tower of London is one of the most visited tourist attractions in England and has seen a long history since it was first built in 1078 A. D. It is most famous for being used as a prison; however, it started out as a grand palace in it’s early history. Although it is called the Tower of London, it is actually a castle. Surrounding the castle is a moat which took center stage this year when artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper designed the ceramic poppies exhibition filling the moat. Titled, “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red“, the Tower of London Poppies were designed to represent every British soldier who fell in the First World War. Essentially, it was a temporary memorial in remembrance of the 888,246 soldiers who died in that Great Conflict long ago.
It would have been nice if the exhibit was permanent; however, it was only displayed during the month of November. When the artist was interviewed he stated that his intention from the very beginning was to make it a temporary exhibit. The long term goal was to sell the poppies to the public and raise money for charity. The remaining poppies would go on tour around the country. The last of the poppies will find a home in the Imperial War Museum in London and a couple other museums around the country.
Attempts at Stealing the Poppies
Apparently, there were several attempts by would be thieves to steal some of the poppies. According to local newspapers thieves tried to steal poppies from the vans they were being loaded onto. Luckily none of the poppies were stolen and the ones that were purchased have found their homes.
Interestingly, the sale of fake poppies as well as real ones were uploaded to Ebay and Gumtree. Ebay took action and banned the sale of poppies, while on Gumtree poppies were reportedly being sold for over £450. It is unfortunate to see such practices but there were a limited number of these flowers made and demand for them is beyond counting. I would not be surprised if more counterfeit poppies get created in the future.
The Tower of London Attraction
I have been wanting to go to the Tower of London for years and when I finally got there, it was the best time to go. However, the overall experience is memorable. Not only do you get to see this old building, but you also get to stand by the River Thames, see Tower Bridge in the distance, across the river you also get to see battle ships and other tourist areas. The sea of tourist which flood the area might be a small draw back, but it doesn’t take away from the experience.
Many tourist will want to see the poppies but unfortunately there were only on display for one month. Still, the Tower of London and the surrounding area are still unforgettable. The tourist booths, the food and the souvenir shops will keep any content and glad to be there. If you have been there, seen the poppies or just the Tower itself and want to share your experience, feel free to comment below.