Boris Johnson: 'Keep Tower of London poppies installation open longer'

The London Mayor made the appeal on account of the popularity of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

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The Independent Online

Four million people will have seen them by 11 November – and now Boris Johnson has called for the poppies to remain at the Tower of London beyond Armistice Day.

The London Mayor said that the installation of 888,246 ceramic flowers, which commemorates every British and colonial death during the First World War, should be kept at the site longer than originally planned on account of its popularity.

Crowds have flocked to see Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which was created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Last week the public were urged to postpone their visits due to an influx of visitors during the school half-term holiday.

Mr Johnson said: "The poppy field at the Tower is a unique and poignant focus of remembrance in this centenary year.

"It has grown rapidly in popularity, to such an extent that it is now a global visitor attraction.

"I'm keen to explore whether we can keep the exhibition open for longer, to give as many people as possible the chance to glimpse something so incredible, whilst easing the pressure on numbers."


A spokeswoman for the mayor said he was in discussion with Historic Royal Palaces, the agency which runs the Tower of London, about extending the exhibition for a further week.

But Historic Royal Palaces said today that it was always the intention to begin sending the poppies - which have been sold to raise cash for charity - to their new owners after 11 Novemeber.

A spokeswoman said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support from the public for Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, our installation of ceramic poppies in the moat at the Tower of London.

"It has always been intended that the poppies will be in place until November 11 and after this time they will be cleaned and sent out to all those that have purchased them.

"The transience of the installation is key to the artistic concept, with the dispersal of the poppies into hundreds of thousands of homes marking the final phase of this evolving installation.

"We are currently planning further ways in which the Tower of London will be marking the coming years of the centenary and the legacy of the poppies in the moat."

Additional reporting by Press Association