Almost 90 per cent of original vessel intact despite fire
Cutty Sark will open to the public later this month for the first time since fire almost destroyed the world’s only remaining tea clipper five years ago.
A £50 million restoration project pieced the 143-year-old clippe together in Greenwich, London, utilising nearly 90 per cent of the ship’s original fittings and fabric.
Richard Doughty, director of the Cutty Sark Trust, said: ‘Although we have taken Cutty Sark apart and reassembled it almost entirely, this is very much still the original Cutty Sark.
‘Any additional material we have added in to strengthen the ship we have painted a different colour.’
From a new glass-roofed visitor centre that has been built under the ship in the dry dock, visitors can see Cutty Sark from underneath for the first time, which Mr Doughty said ‘is really the highlight of the ship’.
He said: ‘When you see this magnificent shining gold-coloured hull, it makes you catch your breath. It looks absolutely stunning.’
Conservation work was already under way in May 2007 when a vacuum cleaner, left on-board overnight, caused the fire. This fortunately meant that much of the cabins, deck features and the mast and rigging were not on board when the blaze sparked.
It is hoped now that the vessel will survive for at least the next 50 years.