Greenwich is a great place to visit and it has just got a whole lot better! The beautiful Cutty Sark sailing ship has been reopened and is a new landmark for the area. To offer even more, The National Maritime Museum has added to their already amazing collections with a fascinating new exhibition called Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames.
The Cutty Sark was the fastest ship of her day and plied her trade around the world mostly as a tea clipper and is the last surviving of these ships. She has been restored using a great deal of original material which is a miracle given the fire that swept through her in 2007. Luck was on their side that day as a great deal of the original timbers had been removed from the site so survived to be reinstated to make the wonderful ship we can visit.
The restoration has at its heart a glass apron which means you can walk right underneath the golden hull and see the glorious shape of the ship as well as explore the decks and cabins.
There are evocative tea chests on the lower decks and fun interactive maps where you can try to beat the Cutty Sark’s best journey time but I was 10 days slower! Famous as a tea clipper that name deriving from these ships ‘clipping’ the time taken and you can learn how the trade winds and doldrums influenced their racing times.
On the top deck you can admire the high rigging which once held 32 sails and reaches up 152 feet/47 metres, and see the tiny bunks the crew slept in, Cutty Sark was launched in 1869 when the men were clearly much shorter than we are now! The wheel, however, is really tall (as you can see in the photo with yours truly) and I’m sure the Captain would have to stand on a box to reach the top spokes.
The Queen opens the Cutty Sark for visitors on 24th April which must be strange for her as she performed the same act in 1957 as this photo shows. The photo is part of a really interesting slide show with commentary where we learn that a Cutty Sark is a ladies undergarment and it taken from a poem by Robert Burns!
On our preview day they were still adding the finishing touches but I’m sure by the time the Queen arrives it’ll be perfect. The Cutty Sark is now on my list of recommendations for visitors to London.
My laptop has let me down recently but hopefully I’ll be back posting many more London blogs.
Bye for now,