The public has declared the thousands of ceramic poppies planted at the Tower of London to mark the outbreak of the First World War the capital’s top cultural event of 2014.
Artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper received the Contribution to London’s Cultural Excellence award following a vote by the readers of CityMetric last month.
It was presented on Wednesday night at the third annual London Awards, held under the hull of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The event aims to mark key individuals, activities and projects that have contributed to making London the best city in the world in which to work and play.
“Blood Swept Lands & Seas of Red” saw 888,246 ceramic poppies filling the Tower’s moat, earning praise for being “a unique and poignant focus of remembrance”, as well as “a global visitor attraction”.
The poppies took almost half the total votes cast, which reflects the strength of the display’s impact. It topped a shortlist that included Nicholas Hytner, Artistic Director of the National Theatre; the Imperial War Museum; the Invictus Games; Natalie Massenet, Chair of the British Fashion Council; and the Totally Thames festival.
Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, which runs the awards, said the poppies were a deserving winner. “They were not only a beautiful way to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war, they brought thousands of volunteers together to create the display, and cast a global spotlight on the city with four million visitors coming to see them.”
Champion for London
Also recognised at the awards were actress Joanna Lumley and London deputy mayor Sir Edward Lister, who shared the award of Champion for London.
Joanna Lumley was recognised for the Garden Bridge, which will make London “a more walkable and liveable city”, while also providing “a new route between the north and south sides of the Thames, bringing more economic opportunities to the area”.
Sir Edward Lister was praised for being someone who had “represented London extremely well and been a credible and impressive ambassador for London”.
The other awards and their winners were:
Investment in London’s Future (sponsored by Grosvenor):
Crossrail 2: For its potential to help London grow and remain globally competitive, driving growth across the national economy.
Improvement to Londoners’ Quality of Life (sponsored by UK Power Networks):
Battersea Power Station: For the redevelopment of a derelict site, creating jobs, training opportunities, new transport connections, environmental initiatives and community facilities.
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