In case you do not get to see the WW1 centenary ceramic poppies project in the moat of the Tower of London, one poppy for each of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth troops who died in WW1, here are my recent photographs.
All the poppies have now been sold, raising millions for veterans’ charities.
I visited the Tower Poppies on the day of my well-attended talk on the World War Zoo Gardens project, wartime zoos and botanic gardens at Kew Gardens and thankfully didn’t have the much reported difficulties of reaching Tower Hill, so popular has visiting this centenary installation become before it finishes on 11 November 2014.
This is one of many commemorative events happening worldwide as part of www.1914.org which includes the Kew Gardens wartime tours throughout November 2014 and London Zoo ZSL’s poster style exhibition about the Zoo at War which runs for another month or two.
You can read more about the HRP Tower of London poppy installation “Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red” by ceramic artist Paul Cummins at https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/
Amongst these 888,246 poppies are ones which mark or commemorate the WW1 deaths of 12 ZSL London Zoo Keepers, 19 Belle Vue Zoo Manchester keepers and 37 Kew Gardens staff, along with many others from gardens staff in Britain, members of the Linnean Society and British Ecological Society that we have been documenting in our blog research since 2009:
Members of zoo families were also killed in WW1,such as two Jennison sons at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester, several brothers of Chester Zoo’s George Mottershead (badly wounded on the Somme) and a brother of Herbert Whitley, founder of Paignton Zoo (Newquay’s sister zoo).
I will be talking at the BGEN conference next week at Paignton Zoo about how to link these wartime links and history commemorations to sustainable development education, telling some of these WW1 personal stories: http://bgen.org.uk/resources/free/using-the-garden-ghosts-of-your-wartime-or-historic-past/
There are RBL poppies on sale in the Newquay Zoo shop in case you are visiting us and we will stop to observe the 11 a.m. 2 minutes silence on the 9th and 11th November 2014 this year.
We will remember them, zoo keepers and gardeners of all nations who served or suffered in WW1.