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Monday 23 May 2016

Weeping window memorial

Since the end of April a very special "sculpture" has been on display at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.  The "Weeping Window" is what remains of a larger "installation" that was at the Tower of London in 2014 to commemmorate the start of the First World War.  It was called "Blood swept land and seas of red" by Paul Cummins (artist) and Tom Piper (designer). Over the course of several weeks 888,246 poppies gradually filled the moat at the Tower, to symbolise the lives lost in WWI.

Here is a picture (courtesy of BBC) of the Tower of London poppies.

The weeping window is now on a tour of the UK and is currently in Orkney in time for the commemoration of the Battle of Jutland which took place on 31st May 1916.  Part of the commemoration is a service at St Magnus Cathedral, where the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is expected to attend, it is rumoured that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor will also be there. Royals attending will be the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne. After the service at St Magnus (which is by invitation only) there will also be a service out at the Royal Naval Cemetery in Lyness on the island of Hoy. Concurrently there will be a service out on Jutland Bank.

The poppies are proving quite a draw to the cathedral, with "hosts" on hand to give lots of information to visitors .

To be honest the impact of the poppies is greater from a distance, though the poppies (made of ceramic) are very beautiful.  But close up you can see the scaffolding and construction which, in my view, detracts from the beauty and sadness of the poppies.  But - practical matters have to be attended to! Anyway here are some photos of the poppies at St Magnus in Kirkwall.

An unglazed poppy....

The poppies spill from a window......

And down the steps....

And by the war memorial, a "yarn bombing" of poppies, which have been on this lamp post for some years now....

The local shops have displays and souvenirs of the poppies.

Here's some info on the events taking place during the commemorations, lots of talks etc.

And here is the best photo I have seen of the display at St Magnus.  Photo copyright of Danny Lawson, it was on STV website.  Very powerful image.


  1. Quite mind-boggling, and so very poignant.

  2. I am moved by the sea of poppies, and a distant look is much better. It is good that it is making the rounds so that others might see at least part of it. Lest we forget.

    1. Yes it's doing a tour of the UK which I think is great. Individual poppies were sold off from the Tower in 2014 to raise money for charity. But the window was kept as a permanent memorial.

  3. 2 people from North Ronaldsay were invited to attend the ceremony! I put my name down but sadly it wasn't pulled out that hat! I would have liked to have gone but then again, it saves me the stress of having to find something to wear!
    Is there anyone from Graemsay attending?

    1. No one from Graemsay going. Don't think anyone applied as transport, believe it or not, would be a challenge! And I've been on Hoy to outdoor events in howling gales in summer so not too keen to repeat the experience ;-)

  4. What a stunning display. What a tragic loss of human lives ...