21 May 2007

Cutty Sark damaged by fire

The renowned and venerable clipper ship Cutty Sark has been severely damaged by fire at Greenwich in England.

The ship, which was undergoing a £25m restoration, is kept in a dry dock at Greenwich in south-east London.

An area around the 138-year-old tea clipper had to be evacuated when the fire broke out in the early hours.
A Cutty Sark Trust spokesman said 50% of the ship was removed for restoration work. He said the trust was devastated but it could have been worse.


The fire at the Cutty Sark may mean only one clipper from the same period is left intact.

The City of Adelaide, built in 1864 to carry passengers and currently at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Ayrshire, also combines a cast iron frame with a wooden hull.

The Age has a good photo and a link to a video of the blaze.

The Cutty Sark has a special place in my affections because it's been at Greenwich, my favourite place in England, for as long as I can remember, and because I've taken my grandchildren (shown in the photo at the helm of the vessel) to see it on each of my last two visits. I must confess to misleading them by calling it a "pirate ship", but in my defence I'll say that it looks like one. I intend to tell them the truth one day (if they don't work it out beforehand).

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