‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is the full title of the art installation that saw over 800,000 clay poppies surround the Tower of London to mark 100 years since the first world war began, though it seems to be more commonly known to most as just the ‘Tower of London Poppies.’ Now, parts of the display are set to tour a variety of towns and cities across the country in order to encourage even more people to engage with the sculptures and reflect on the conflict that ravaged the globe between 1914-1918. They will then find a permanent home at the Imperial War Museums in London & Manchester in 2018.

However, The Sentinel sadly reported earlier this week that Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to be one of the host cities for the poppy display had been rejected by 14-18 NOW, the organisers of the national tour. This decision was met with outrage across the city, and rightly so, as Stoke played an integral part in the production of the final masterpiece. Without our clay, supplied by Potclays in Eturia and our skilled workers at Johnson Tiles, Tunstall (who made a whopping half of the total amount of poppies!) the installation would have been near impossible to open. Considering the important connections that clearly exist between the city and the flowers, the verdict is somewhat inexplicable.

On the contrary, The Sentinel isn’t prepared to shut up and accept this decision and so they have relaunched their campaign to bring these iconic poppies back to the potteries! They are asking everyone to register their support either online or by filling in the coupons found in the print editions of the newspaper and I am joining them in asking for your support too. Our city has been overlooked enough and we’ve missed out on one too many events of national importance. For Stoke, hosting the poppies could remind us of even more than the soldiers who bravely gave their lives for our country in World War One. It could reaffirm the skills, talents and resources that remain in our city and the contribution that they can still make to modern Britain.

Poppies found at Emma Bridgewater

Poppies found at Emma Bridgewater


More information on “Blood swept lands and seas of red”:

14-18 NOW website: