Just published, Poppies Pomp and People follows a year at the Tower of London, explaining how the 150 residents and others facilitate the unique experience for visitors , while guarding and maintaining our priceless heritage, without costing the taxpayer a penny.
The Tower of London has fascinated people for centuries, but how much do we know about what happens there today? By tracing its comings and goings over a year, Poppies, Pomp & People gives a unique insight into the modern Tower: the ceremonies, the celebrations, the experience of living in a historic landmark, and all the people –visitors and staff – who make it work.
Here you will also find a detailed account of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the Tower’s moat to mark the centenary of the First World War.
The Tower of London is a hugely important building, and this book celebrates its history, its continued existence and the work that
is being done to preserve it for future generations.
Lord Dannatt commented:
In a very unobtrusive way, Chris West made sure that he was present at every event – large and small – during 2014 and 2015. He watched, listened and recorded all that was going on during that year. He has captured the thoughts of a very large number of those involved in the life of the Tower from the Yeoman Warders, to the Chaplain, to the Constable, to the Curators, and
not forgetting the families of Tower residents nor the visitors who flood through the gates every day……this is a record of life today, proving that the Tower of London is living history and not just a relic of the past.
The centrepiece for Chris West’s book is the installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies – one for every British and Colonial soldier who lost their lives in the First World War……
Chris West has captured the story in a delightful way. I congratulate him for his achievement and commend this book to all who want to get a real feel for life inside the Tower of London today.
General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL
Constable, HM Tower of London 2009-2016
The Director of London Historians Commented-
More on books, an honourable mention for Chris West’s new book about the Tower of London: Poppies, Pomp and People. It covers the everyday life of the royal palace and fortress, giving real insight into its role and function beyond simply being a popular tourist destination. It’s all about continuity.
21 December at 22:11 (on Facebook).
I bought and have been reading Chris’ book on a year in the life within the Tower of London. Like his previous book on the history of St Katharine’s, it is full of information, painstakingly gathered over a long period of time. With the current book, he received the blessings and support of those who live and work in the Tower.
It is packed with dates and descriptions of the many ceremonies held every year in the Tower. For example, the Beating of the Bounds, May 14 (every few years) when kids from local schools, armed with willow branches, raucously circle the Tower, beating out and reconfirming the boundaries of the Tower. The Ceremony of the Lilies and Roses, May 21, honours and commemorates the life and death of Henry VI, on the spot believed to be where he was murdered. Or the Harvest Festival, St. Peter Ad Vincula, with music and more in the chapel, on October 4.
There are interviews with many of the Yeoman Warders and others involved in life within the Tower. And do you know the requirements to become a Yeoman Warder? Twenty-two years of unblemished military service, attaining senior non commissioned rank, then six months of training while living in the Tower alone. Do you know how many people actually live in the Tower?
For £10, this is a bargain, and full of history.