The Cutty Sark: A retired Tall Ship at Greenwich, London

  Cutty Sark

This evening, I am reporting on the Tall Ship, Cutty Sark which is now moored at Greenwich, London and a major tourist attraction.This was once the most famous of the fast sailing ships, or clippers, of the nineteenth century that traversed the world’s major trading routes.

Summary information on this vessel as follows:

  • Built in a Scottish shipyard and launched at Dumbarton in 1869.  She was a masterpiece of sailing ship design.The combination of composite timber and iron hull provided strength whilst the three masts with a full spread of canvas could propel the ship at up to 17 knots.
  • Spent the 1870s speeding across the high seas, establishing a reputation as one of the fastest ships afloat excelling at bringing the new tea crop from China to Victorian Britain where the drink was fashionable and in high demand,
  • The advent of steamships and the Suez Canal rendered sailing ships unprofitable in the tea trade and by the late 187os the vessel had to find alternative cargoes, including the transport of coal.
  • In 1885 the ship was used in the dangerous wool run between Melbourne, Sydney and London but by 1895 was approaching the end of her commercial life.
  • Sold to a Portuguese company, who renamed her the Ferreira and thereafter spent 25 years transporting cargoes between Portugal, Africa and the Americas.
  • In the late 1920s was purchased by a private individual and taken to Falmouth, England where she was restored and opened to the public.
  • Between 1936 and early 1950s, the vessel was employed as a training ship for British naval cadets.
  • In 1954 funds were raised from the public to rescue the ship following which she was placed in a dry dock in Greenwich, London and became a visitor attraction.
Bow and masts Side elevation.


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