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Stern of the Cutty Sark.Stern of the Cutty Sark.
Cutty Sark at Greenwich

© National Maritime Museum, London

Title: Stern of the Cutty Sark.
Description: The 'Cutty Sark' is a beautiful clipper ship of 963 tons. She was launched from Scott and Linton's shipyard at Dumbarton, on the Clyde in 1869. She enjoyed fame first as a tea-clipper on the China run and then as a carrier of wool from Australia. By 1895, clippers were no longer profitable and she was unceremoniously sold off to the Portuguese and renamed the 'Ferreira'. In 1922 she underwent a refit at London's Surrey Docks. On her journey home from that refit, she was driven into Falmouth Harbour by a fateful Channel gale. There she was spotted by Captain Wilfred Dowman, a Cornish mariner who, as an apprentice seaman back in 1894, had seen her 'slicing by' in full sail and had never forgotten that breathtaking sight. She was now very much dilapidated, so Captain Dowman bought her for the sum of £3,750 and had her restored, re-rigged and flying the 'Red Duster' once again. Upon Dowman's death in 1938, his widow presented the restored clipper to the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College at Greenhithe on the Thames, where the vessel remained until after the Second World War, when the college acquired a larger, steel-built ship for its cadets. Once more, 'Cutty Sark' became 'surplus to requirements'. Lengthy discussions ensued over her future, which ultimately led to her being towed to a mooring off Greenwich in 1951 for the festival of Britain. Eventually, the 'Cutty Sark' Society was formed under the patronage of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and the ship was gifted to the society. In December 1954 she was moved into a specially constructed dry dock at Greenwich. Now, 134 years after her launch (long since outliving her life expectancy of just 30 years), she is still a beautiful vessel, delighting her visitors. At present (2003) she is in great need of futher massive restoration, for which a fundrasing campaign is being planned.
Creator: National Maritime Museum
Date: 2002
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London

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