Portsmouth submits fresh bid for Tower of London ‘Weeping Window’ poppy attraction

The Weeping Window display at the Tower of London
The Weeping Window display at the Tower of London
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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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CITY leaders have launched a fresh bid to showcase in Portsmouth a stunning poppy attraction that drew in millions of visitors to the Tower of London.

The council is having another go at staging part of the ceramic Weeping Window display at Southsea Castle.

It’s a very good draw, it brings people in and we are always trying to bring tourists to the city.

Portsmouth Tory culture boss Linda Symes

The authority first put in an application last year to war cultural programme 14-18 NOW in the hope of staging it this year to tie in with commemoration events marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

But organisers said there were more compelling bids and Caernarfon Castle in Wales, The Black Watch Castle & Museum and St Magnus Cathedral, both in Scotland, and Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, all got the nod to stage it instead.

But Portsmouth has taken another stab at securing the attraction in 2017.

And Tory culture boss Linda Symes, who confirmed the council had put forward a new application, believes its chances are better now.

She said that’s because the council had already done well out of the government at the time of its first bid – having secured £4m towards the transformation of the D-Day Museum and another £2m for the relocation of the Royal Marines Museum.

Cllr Symes said: ‘It was probably wishful thinking on our part.

‘However, we hope we will be in with a good chance next year.

‘It’s a very good draw, it brings people in and we are always trying to bring tourists to the city.

‘This is another way of doing it. We already have lots of summer events, and this is also something we would have for a substantial amount of time.

‘We have to think of lots of different ways to bring money into the local economy.

‘It would be something else on our seafront for people to do, we’re always trying to attract more people to the seafront.’

The London poppy display Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, seen by more than 4m visitors during the autumn of 2014, included 888,246 ceramic poppies, representing the death toll in the armed forces between 1914 and 1918.

Most were sold to the public afterwards, but about 10,000, including an arch and a wave, have been made available for public use. The whole sculpture comprised several thousand hand-made ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window; and included a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks.