Cutty Sark in 2012
Type: Extreme Clipper
Length: 280 feet (overall)
Cutty Sark is the last of the extreme clipper ships built for the 19th century China/England tea trade. From 1870-1878 she completed 8 round trips from with cargos of wine, spirit and beer to China and tea on return to England.
With the opening of the Suez Canal and the introduction of steam ships she was no longer suited for the tea trade. For the next 45 years she took different cargos of various qualities around the world. For example, she took coal from Nagasaki in Japan to Shanghai; jute from Manila to New York; and jute, castor oil, tea and the Australian mail from Calcutta to Melbourne in March 1881. Then for ten years the wool trade with Australia sustained her before again steam ships took the market.
In 1895 she was sold to J. Ferreira & Co. and renamed Ferreira. She travelled the world with various cargos between Portugal and her empire. Dismasted and re-rigged as a barquentine in 1917. In 1922 she was bought by Captain and Mrs. Dowman and her name changed back to Cutty Sark.
After saving the Cutty Sark, Wilfred Dowman restored the ship to a close approximation of her appearance as a tea and wool clipper. She was re-rigged as a sailing ship. The Cutty Sark was used as a cadet training ship, where boys from different backgrounds would live on board and train for a career in either the Royal Navy or the Merchant Marine. In 1938 she was sold to the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College, Greenhithe. Her transfer in 1938 was her last time at sea under sail. In Greenhithe she was used as an auxiliary vessel for the cadet training ship HMS Worcester. The ship continued her role in training officers for service in the Royal and Merchant Navies, which was soon to be vital with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.
In 1953 she was she was acquired by the Cutty Sark Society. In 1954 she moved into a specially built dock in London, was restored, and in 1957 began her new life as a museum. In 2012 she completed 6 years of conservation work that included a unique method of supporting the hull providing an un-obstructed view of her underwater shape.
1880s photo by Captain Woodget
Cutty Sark 2012
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