Poppies Wave

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Tower of London Poppies are on tour, and they've made their way to Southend. Well, Shoebury to be exact. This installation, by Paul Cummins (artist) and Tom Piper (designer) is at Barge Pier until 25 June 2017.

The volunteers who are working tirelessly at the exhibition are just fantastic. I learnt so much about this amazing area during our visit, from local history to war stories and environmental impact. The poppy installation was truly beautiful, but a little bit far away. When you're with a toddler, the here-and-now things tend to impress. There was an ice cream cafe, though. And ducks. And many, many cockle shells to pick up along the way.

Did you know that Shoebury Barge Pier was built in 1908? And that Southend was the scene of some of the first air-raid attacks on the UK? Terrifying. It seems so tranquil now, with the old artillery and gunnery stations dissolving into the natural landscape. 

It's funny how the land doesn't forget. It covers up, grows, and springs - but it also gets wilder, and protects itself. Surrounded by housing developments and roads, this little piece of wilderness seems to grow out of the estuary, determined to be noticed and not forgotten. I suppose that's what the Poppies Wave installation is there to do - lest we forget.

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