What is Poppies: Wave?

Poppies: Wave is one of two sculptures from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation, which featured Weeping Window, was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

What will I be able to see at Barge Pier, Gunner Park, Shoeburyness?

Southend-on-Sea is one of just two locations in 2017 where visitors will be able to see Poppies: Wave against a backdrop of sand, sea & stunning coastal views.

Why was Shoeburyness selected to host Poppies: Wave by 14-18 NOW?

Poppies: Wave is an artwork which marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Each poppy for Wave and Weeping Window have been individually made and are in remembrance of one serviceman or woman who died during the First World War.

The presentations of Wave and Weeping Window by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, will give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance.

Shoeburyness, Southend-on-Sea is an area which represents significant involvement in the First World War, which makes Barge Pier in Gunners Park a fitting site to host such an important and significant artwork. Southend-on-Sea was the scene of one of the first air-raid attacks on the UK and many of the artillery guns used were designed and tested here in Shoeburyness. In common with the rest of the country, many people from Southend-on-Sea fought or acted as nursing staff and many made the ultimate sacrifice. Shoebury Garrison was also a training school for the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery. It was also the site of the British War Dog School, established in 1917, where dogs were trained and sent to France and Belgium, and also used as guards and sentries on the home front. 

When and what time can I see Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea?

The sculpture is available to view all day, seven days a week from 12th April until the 25th June 2017.

Poppy Volunteers will be available to greet visitors between 9am and 7pm, each day.

For further information, please email  


Do I have to pay to view Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea?

There is no charge to view Wave – it is FREE to come and visit the sculpture in Southend-on-Sea.

Do I need to book in advance to see Poppies: Wave?

There is no need to book in advance to see Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea. However, there are likely to be queues at weekends and during school holidays, so please leave plenty of time for your visit.

How close can I get to Poppies: Wave?

There are a variety of places where Poppies: Wave can be seen, including two raised viewing platforms either side of Barge Pier (land end). Each viewing platform holds around 20 people. Please view the site map for recommended locations to view Poppies: Wave.

How accessible is Poppies: Wave?

Viewing of Poppies: Wave is possible from a variety of different places (please view the site map for recommended locations to view Poppies: Wave). Viewing is not possible from Barge Pier itself or from the adjacent beach and foreshore. Visitors are advised that access to the beach and foreshore in this area is prohibited at all times. For further information visit

Why can't I go onto Barge Pier to view Poppies: Wave?

Poppies: Wave has been designed in Shoeburyness against the stunning backdrop of the Thames Estuary. The spectacular sculpture features a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks, which rise up from Barge Pier to create a spectacular wave towards the Thames Estuary. The dramatic impact of the sculpture can be fully appreciated from viewing the sculpture from a distance rather than up close. There are a variety of places where Poppies: Wave can be seen, including two purpose built, raised viewing platforms either side of Barge Pier (land end).

Viewing of Poppies: Wave is not possible from Barge Pier itself due to the structure’s age (built in 1909) and inability to hold large numbers of people over a long-period off time. To protect the public and keep people safe, Barge Pier has been inaccessible to the public for a number of years.

Hosting Poppies: Wave on this structure has only been possible following completion of a detailed risk assessment by the Council. Members of the public will have seen individuals on Barge Pier whilst the sculpture has been built. These individuals are professional art handlers from 14-18 NOW and the Council, as well as members of the Council’s Project Team. All of these people have taken part in a lengthy and comprehensive health and safety process. Access to Barge Pier has been granted to these individuals for a limited time and under very strict and controlled conditions. All personnel accessing and working on the sculpture have to wear Personal Protective Equipment to protect the user against the health and safety risks that exist by working on a structure like Barge Pier.

Access to the beach and foreshore in this area is prohibited at all times also. As the foreshore in this area falls within the former Shoebury Old Ranges (a disused army training facility within the wider MoD Shoebury Ranges) there is a significant risk of unexploded ordnance (“UXOs”) being present. For further information visit

What are the benefits of hosting Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea?

Around 1.5 million tourists visit Southend-on-Sea each year to attend the diverse range of cultural activities Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and partners offer. Research tells us that for every £1 we invest in cultural activities roughly £6 is returned to our economy.

Tourism remains a vital component of the town’s economy and the benefits of hosting Poppies: Wave, which is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the town, will be felt by local businesses and therefore local employment.

During times of austerity, it is even more important that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council explores and considers every opportunity to invest in a diverse range of areas, including culture, which will showcase what makes Southend-on-Sea a great place to live and visit and to attract increased visitors and further long-term investment into the area.

The benefits of hosting Poppies: Wave in Southend will also be felt by many of the Borough’s schools and students, who have already made arrangements to bring their students to the sculpture to appreciate the stunning art work, and to learn more about the important history of Gunners Park. 


I would like to bring a group to see Poppies: Wave. How do I do this?

We welcome groups to come and see Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea. Please email with more details about your group and when you would like to come and visit.

We are a school, are there any workshops planned for Poppies: Wave which our school can take part in?

We are developing a comprehensive & diverse learning and development programme for schools, which will include:  

  • Classroom strategies using the sculpture for promoting Pupil Talk

  • Literacy focused activity to generate rich writing outcomes

  • Practical lesson plans for using the sculptures as a platform to explore WW1 and local history units

  • Teachers professional development (CPD)

  • Teacher Resource pack

  • Digital storytelling and other hands on workshops for young people

We will confirm details of our offer to schools on this website nearer to the opening of Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea. To register your interest please email

Am I allowed to take photos and film Poppies: Wave?

Yes of course, and we would encourage you to share these on social media tagging @SouthendBC and @1418NOW using #PoppiesTour. Please note that whilst pictures are permitted, these are for personal use only and cannot be recreated or used for commercial purposes.

Filming of Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea on mobile phones is permitted for personal use only and cannot be recreated or used for commercial purposes. It is not permitted to film Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea using a drone. If you are interested in filming Poppies: Wave, please email

Photography and Filming Disclaimer

Please be aware that regular filming, photography and broadcasting will take place at Gunners Park, Shoeburyness for the duration that Poppies: Wave is hosted at Barge Pier. By attending you give Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and 14-18 NOW permission to use any photos you appear in on websites or for marketing purposes. All persons visiting the sculpture at Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, who do not wish to have their image recorded for distribution should make their wishes known to the photographer, and/or the organisers – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council or the Poppy Volunteers who will be on site each day. Please email  if you have any further questions.

Media and Press

If you are a media outlet interested in photographing or filming Poppies: Wave in Southend-on-Sea, then please contact Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Press Office on 01702 215939 or 01702 534322 or you can email

Will there be any Poppies: Wave souvenirs on sale at Barge Pier?

A small variety of special themed items from the Imperial War Museum’s poppy range will be available to purchase on site at Barge Pier. Special themed items will also be available to purchase at the following locations:

Will the poppies be for sale?

The two poppy sculptures that are being presented across the UK are from the original installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London.

They were bought for the nation by the Clore Duffield Foundation and the Backstage Trust (one of the Sainsbury charities). The military charities benefited from the sale of these poppies in the same way as the poppies which were purchased by individuals. No new poppies are being made for the tour so there won't be any further poppies available to buy.

Can I leave a memento/cross for a family member?

Poppies: Wave is an artwork which marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. At Barge Pier we have provided an intimate space by the lake in Gunners Park for contemplation and reflection, where you will be able to leave your own written reflections of the sculpture and WW1 itself.

We would like to encourage visitors to share their memories or thoughts by using one of our commemorative memory cards which are available to complete. These special memory cards will then be used to support further projects within Southend-on-Sea and will also be used by 14-18 NOW to help document the Poppies Tour. Please see our site map for location details of the reflection space.

How can I volunteer for Poppies: Wave? 

We have had an amazing response to our call for Poppy Volunteers. So far, more than 250 people have committed their time to help welcome visitors to the sculpture and help create a memorable and contemplative experience. All of our Poppy Volunteer places have now been filled. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has pledged their time, your support has been truly overwhelming. 

For other volunteer opportunities within Southend, please email

Will there be refreshments available at Barge Pier?

Yes, a temporary on site catering facility near to Barge Pier will be available during main visiting hours. A variety of hot food, drinks and snacks will be available to purchase.

Shoeburyness and the surrounding area also boasts a number of eateries, restaurants and cafes. 

Please view our site map for locations of the main facilities available. 

Are there any public toilets, including disabled and baby changing facilities located at Barge Pier?

There are several public toilet facilities located in Shoeburyness, fairly close to Barge Pier:

Please view our site map for full details.

What else is there to do in Gunners Park, Shoeburyness?

We are pleased to be able to offer a series of activities to allow individuals and families to explore more aspects of WW1 during Poppies: Wave being hosted in Southend-on-Sea. A public engagement programme of performances, poems, walks and talks can be found here.  

Where else can I see Poppies: Wave?

For further details on where Poppies: Wave and Poppies: Weeping Window can be seen, please visit 14-18 NOW’s website –

How can I find out more about Poppies: Wave?

For the remainder of the 14-18 NOW programme, Wave and Weeping Window will be on view at selected locations around the United Kingdom finishing at IWM North and IWM London in the autumn of 2018. The sculptures will then be gifted to the Imperial War Museums.

You can find out more about Poppies: Wave and other arts events as part of the arts programme for the First World War centenary on the 14-18 NOW