It's been such a busy half term week with visits here and there, clearing our garage, decorating and Halloween preparations. But our focus was the end of the week with another visit to the Tower of London's poppy installation. The News programmes kept reporting not to visit the Tower until after half term due to the thousands of people viewing the poppies, the tube stations nearby had been closed with an explanation of needing minor repairs however with the amount of people making their way to Tower Hill, the stations really would not have been able to cope. But, we HAD to go on Saturday! An email had been received from the Tower to say that one of our ancestors was going to be read out at the Roll of Honour at sunset on the 1st November, so I needed to be there.
The News Reports were absolutely correct! The crowds were HUGE. Completely surrounding the moat of the near completed installation. In some places the lines of people were about twenty deep and myself and Miss Teen carefully started maneuvering our way to the closest position.
But slowly, very slowly, we found gaps to the left.
And to the right.
So many nationalities, all talking, taking photos where they could and shuffling to try and get a better view. And then, the sun slowly disappeared and the Tower gave off its own glow.
The enormous crowd became silent and still, a very somber moment. Then a voice rang out into the air reading out 180 names along with their regiments.
My ancestor, Private E G Adams, was read out about half way through. His name just rang out and reached our ears, we both looked at each other and respectfully smiled. Others around us were similarly doing the same when someone was read out that was part of them, a touch on the shoulder, a smile, a look to the heavens. It was a truly emotional experience and worth making our way through the crowds of people to hear and experience this. At the end of the Roll of Honour, the Last Post was played and for a few moments everyone was still. Then, the moat was lit up to show the poppies. It was as though we were looking at a river of blood, an incredible moment.
Slowly and respectfully, the thousands of conversations started again and the journeys home were beginning. There are no real words that can explain the whole experience. For us though, we walked up to the River Thames and sat down for a few minutes to reflect this experience and to remember Ernest, and also to work out the best way to get back to Kings Cross. London at night is so magical so we just had to take photos while we sat.
Even the awful Shard has a different look in the evening (still not a fan though!).
There are only a few days left before the Installation is complete and then it will gradually be dismantled and the poppies will be sent to those who have bought them. If you do go, make your way to Bank Underground Station and make your way to the Tower from there (Northern Line from Kings Cross about four stops), it's about .7 of a mile's walk where you can take in the sights, especially of The Monument, BUT be prepared for the crowds, and be patient!
You can see my less crowded post here from the last time I visited, but now that the moat is almost full, it really is a once in a lifetime experience to see for yourself if you can.
Now to rest my feet!
Have a wonderful week, I'm looking forward to catching up with you all now I am sitting down again!!