Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Cutty Sark, Greenwich

The Cutty Sark has finally been restored to its former glory. Having survived pounding seas, thunderous storms, a fire and a drubbing by thousands of school children the former tea clipper, the Concorde of its day, now sits on the crest of a skirt of glass as if still riding the waves.

The ship was badly damaged, almost destroyed, by fire in May 2007. There was an outpouring of public sympathy for the old girl and £50m was raised to complete the restoration. Every cloud has a silver lining.

The Cutty Sark was one of the last, and fastest, tea clippers to sail between Britain and the Far East. Her name is taken from the Robert Burn’s poem Tam O’Shanter, which refers to a shapely witch wearing only a cutty sark. Built in 1869 in Dumbarton, Scotland, for John Willis, a London ship owner the construction bankrupted the builders Scott and Linton. The ship was given a complete refit in 1922 and served as a training ship during the Second World War. The ship has remained in dry dock, in Greenwich since 1954

The tall masts once again tower over Greenwich. The ship seems to be straining at the leash to once again be on the high seas rather than trapped, land locked as a permanent museum piece, it's 921 tons eerily floating three metres above visitors drinking their coffee in the space created underneath the great ship.

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