I went yesterday to London just to see the poppies at the Tower of London. I had seen a lot of press and photos of them, but seeing them in person blew them all away. The sheer size of the moat, the number of poppies, and the number of people there to see them was completely humbling.
I realised that I was going to be a while when I got off the Tube – along with several hundred others; the train left almost completely empty from Tower Hill station. We started to go up to the street and there were people calling out to go left outside the station if you want to see the poppies. We all did.
I could see hoardings all along the road and a lot of construction as well. The first thing I saw was the Shard, then memorials. We walked or rather shuffled, down through a subway and there we stoppd, with the sun coming out from behind the clouds and blinding us. I had taken a few photos with the camera but then the batteries died. Oh well, I thought, so much for a blog post.
We managed to shuffle forward slowly. There were people streaming from the left to the right and we joined them. Everyone was polite, trying not to barge into anyone or trip anyone up. There were people on top of walls telling us to keep moving, and we did. We found that those who were right by the railings that could see the poppies were taking a few shots, then moving on so others could take their place.
I managed to get to the rails and saw this:
I was really disappointed I wasn’t going to be able to get any photos, but I didn’t know anywhere I could get batteries and everyone else seemed to be using phones to take photos with. A couple moved in beside me and very kindly offered me some batteries so I could take photos, refused to take them back or any payment for them. I took quite a few photos as I moved slowly down the walk and around the moat and Tower.
I was also amazed at how many people were there – and how many different languages I heard as well. Everyone wanted to see the poppies, but no one was impatient or rude and were willing to wait. It was amazing how quiet everyone was as well. For the sheer number of people there, there was very little sound or noise.
I tried to get a sense of the whole atmosphere in these photos, but I don’t think anyone could. I managed to see all the way around the Tower in about 25 minutes as everyone was great about letting others into their places as people moved around. I hope I’ll be able to take my son down after Remembrance Day before they are all removed.
I bought one of the poppies, but would love as many people as possible to see them in situ – I think it gives everyone who sees them there a real sense of the incredible scale of World War I and how many people lost their lives during the fighting.