Tower of London ready to mark 100th anniversary of 1914-18 War

Tower of London

Tower of London - Credit: Royal Palaces

The historic Tower of London is to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with a major art installation and a four-month programme of events.

Part of The Tower's White Keep

Part of The Tower's White Keep - Credit: Archant

Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that looks after for The Tower, announced its plans which include a collaboration with ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper.

It involves installing 888,246 ceramic poppies—one for each British and Colonial fatality during the 1914-18 war—which is to be unveiled on August 5, exactly 100 years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement.

The poppies, a symbol of remembrance, will encircle the 1,000-year-old royal castle, creating a visual commemoration and a setting for performance and educational events. The scale reflects the magnitude of the centenary.

“The First World War was a pivotal moment in history, claiming the lives of 16 million people across the globe,” Historic Palaces chief executive Michael Day said.


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“The consequences have shaped our modern society. It’s important we make sure those who lived, fought and served during this time are remembered, as a fitting marker to those who lost their lives.”

The ancient moat around The Tower was used during the Great War to swear in 1,600 volunteers enlisting by the end the first month of hostilities at the recruitment station in the City, forming 10th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers which became known as “the stock brokers’ battalion” which fought right to the end of the war.

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A programme of events is being laid on from August at The Tower, running until 11am on November 11—marking the 11th hour of the 11th month when the guns finally fell silent in 1918.

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