Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark by Frederick Tudgay, 1872

I don't know if you saw it at the time but back at the beginning of the summer, May 21st, there was a fire aboard the last surviving clipper ship, the Cutty Sark, which is moored on the Thames in London. It broke my heart to see the initial pictures and early reports which seemed to indicate that the ship, built in 1869, might almost be a complete loss.

In this quarter's Sea History, however, there is encouraging news. Jessica Beverly reports that the Cutty Sark had been under restoration at the time of the fire, and that

"More than half her original hull planking, all three masts and rigging, coach houses, the master's saloon, deck furniture, and anchors had been safely transported to Chatham Historic Dockyard and other storage sites. Irreplaceable treasures, such as the Cutty Sark figurehead collection and the Trust's artifacts and archives, were also off-site at the time."

The damage is dreadful to look at in the pictures and there will be a lot of work to restore this treasure but it appears it can be done with much of the original infrastructure intact.

Thank goodness.

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