News story

Ceramic poppies to be planted in the Tower of London's moat

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

888,246 ceramic poppies will be planted in the moat at the Tower of London to commemorate British and Commonwealth fatalities during the First World War.

Plans to ‘plant’ 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat at the Tower of London have been announced. The poppies – one for each British and Commonwealth fatality during the First World War – will be unveiled on 5 August to mark the centenary of Britain’s entry into the conflict.

Artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper are the creative force behind the idea, which is part of Historic Royal Palaces’ programme to mark the centenary.

First World War Centenary minister, Helen Grant, said:

This promises to be an impressive and eye-catching work that will, I hope, really bring home to everyone the sheer scale of the sacrifice our servicemen and women made across those dark years in our history. There will be many events and programmes across the centenary and this seems set to be one of the most memorable.

Michael Day, Chief Executive Historic Royal Palaces, said:

The First World War was a pivotal moment in our history, claiming the lives of over 16million people across the globe; its consequences have shaped our modern society. It is important for us to ensure that those who lived, fought and served during this time are remembered and we hope that the Tower of London’s involvement during this centenary anniversary will serve as a fitting marker to those who lost their lives, whilst encouraging others to reflect on our past.

During the First World War the Tower’s moat was used to swear in over 1,600 men who had enlisted by the end of August 1914 at the recruitment station in the City to form the 10th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - the so called ‘stock brokers battalion’ who fought for the duration of the war.

A programme of events will accompany the installation which will remain until 11 am on 11 November 2014. They will then be sold individually to the public, to raise money for six armed forces charities.

Information about the First World War Centenary