Tower of London poppies recreated by pupils at Hornsey Rise school

PUBLISHED: 07:09 17 November 2014

Duncombe Primary school recreating the Tower of London poppy installation (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Duncombe Primary school recreating the Tower of London poppy installation (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)


More than 600 poppies formed a Hornsey Rise school’s own version of the famous Tower of London exhibition.

Pupils place their poppies (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)Pupils place their poppies (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Pupils and staff at Duncombe Primary School, in Sussex Way, created paper and ceramic flowers to honour those who died in the First World War because they couldn’t get to see the original installation.

The project formed part of a special topic week commemorating the Great War.

Pupils studied books, went to museums and discussed concepts like heroism, the role of women and animals in the conflict and the Christmas truce of 1914.

At a special assembly on Thursday, the youngsters sang war time songs and head teacher, Barrie O’ hea told them how his grandfather had his eye poked out by a bayonet during hostilities.

He said: “He went over the top and he got a bayonet in his eye.

“But he survived and went back home, he didn’t have to fight any more.

“He lived to about 80, but he always had a glass eye.”

After the assembly, he said: “We couldn’t get down to the Tower of London, so we made our own version here.

“The children have been really thoughtful and have come up with some very insightful things.

“We explored lots of ideas, like what’s so special about this country that makes people queue in Calais to get in.”

Katija Ali, who runs debates with the youngsters at the school, said; “We discussed conscription, and whether people should be forced to fight.

“Generally they came down on the side of that not being fair.

“But some pupils brought up the idea of what would happen if no one agreed to fight. One person’s family might suffer and miss them, but their sacrifice might help society as a whole.

“It was quite astute.”

The Tower of London exhibition, called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, consists of 888,246 ceramic flowers - one for each British and colonial loss of life.

An estimated 5 million people have visited during the last five months, It is now in the process of being dismantled.


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