News story

Prime Minister and charities secure future for Tower of London poppy display

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

Centrepiece of installation to tour UK for 4 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced that a key element of the poppy installation by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper at the Tower of London, commemorating the British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War, will remain in place until the end of November.

It will then be permanently displayed at the Imperial War Museums, after travelling to sites across UK which will allow even more people to experience its unique impact.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The poppy display at the Tower of London has in a very short space of time become a much loved and respected monument.

We want to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to witness it, and the government is providing money and working with charities to do so.

By displaying parts of the installation around the country and then permanently in the Imperial War Museum, we have ensured that this poignant memorial will be saved for the nation.

Supported by major donations from two charities, the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, together with government funding, two major parts of the installation, the Weeping Window and The Wave, will go on a journey to sites around the UK until 2018. Government is providing more than £500,000 to cover the cost of storing, transporting and installing the poppy sculptures in towns and cities across the UK. The funding will come from LIBOR fines.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

The Tower of London poppies are a striking reminder of the sacrifice that over 800,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers made to protect our freedom during the First World War, so I’m delighted that £500,000 of LIBOR fines will be used to ensure that people across the country will be able to see this moving tribute over the next four years.

To support the current generation of brave service men and women who continue to protect our freedoms every day, we’re also using LIBOR fines to waive VAT on the sale of these poppies, with proceeds going to military charities. It’s only right that fines from those who have demonstrated the very worst of values should go to support those who have shown the best of British values.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who leads the government’s programme to mark the Centenary of the First World War added:

The poppies at the Tower are a stunning memorial to those who died in the First World War. I had the honour of being allowed to plant one of the poppies myself and, like the four million or so people who have gone to see them, I was left in awe at the sheer scale and strength of the piece. For me this is public art at its most powerful and moving.

This tour of the display will continue until 2018, the end of the Centenary, before being gifted to the nation and going on display at the IWM London and IWMN in Manchester, part of the Imperial War Museums, as one of the 14-18 NOW legacy projects. Government support for the scheme will allow 14-18 NOW to take the poppy monument to additional locations to make the display accessible to as many people as possible.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to all those who have been involved in this extraordinary venture including the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, the artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, those at the Tower who have worked tirelessly, the charities involved, and especially the public who have bought the poppies and the volunteers who have come in their droves to make the artists’ vision a reality.

The 14-18 NOW team will consider ways in which these presentations could provide opportunities for further public donations to military charities.

Notes to Editors

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of red

The installation consists of 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each British and Colonial fatality during the Great War, stretching around the dry moat of the Tower of London. Following its unveiling at the Tower on the 5 August, volunteers from all over the UK, as well as all over the world, have planted the poppies each day to ensure that all 888,246 are in place by the time for the culmination of the installation on Armistice Day, 11 November 2014. The work was commissioned by the independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces.

14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions

A programme of special commissions by leading artists from Britain and around the world to mark the centenary of the First World War as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. The programme centres around three key moments: 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), July 2016 and November 2018. The first events took place from June to August 2014. 14-18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and by additional fundraising.

Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

Imperial War Museums (IWM)

IWM tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War. IWM’s five branches attract over 2 million visitors each year.