Only a few weeks ago we discussed the importance of preserving historical ships and looked at the organisations that do wonderful work to ensure the conservation of our naval history and culture. We looked at ships across both the UK and the US, and in the case of the UK, more specifically we looked at the Cutty Sark. Following the article we posted and the discussion we had regarding the Cutty Sark, the ship was recently the victim of a second fire on the 19th October. Having previously suffered extensive damage due to the breakout of a fire in 2007, we felt it appropriate to pay tribute to this beautiful ship.
A brief history of the Cutty Sark
1869 – The Cutty Sark is built in Clyde, UK as a tea clipper ship. She served the function of transporting goods, specifically tea, along trade routes to and from China. Due to the nature of her purpose, she was built to be very fast and succeeded in this respect, being one of the fastest clipper ships ever built.
1869-1895 – Serving initially as a tea clipper, she sailed along trade routes to and from China. Following the opening of the Suez Canal, steam ships were able to make the journey to China considerably faster, and the Cutty Sark was no longer a profitable ship to use along this trade route. She continued to serve as a clipper ship, however, being used for the trade of wool to and from Australia. Steam ships began to dominate this trade route as well and the Cutty Sark eventually became unfit to be a clipper ship.
1895 – The Cutty Sark is sold to Portuguese company Ferreira and Co. and was consequently renamed the Ferreira.
1922 – The Cutty Sark is purchased by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman, restoring her name and using her as a training ship from Falmouth, Cornwall.
1938 – The Thames Nautical Training College begin using the Cutty Sark to train cadets.
1954 – She is transferred to a dry dock in Greenwich, London for public display, which is her current location.
The first fire
In the early hours of the morning of 21 May 2007, the Cutty Sark caught fire and burned for several hours before she was rescued by the London Fire Brigade. At the time of the fire, she had been closed from public display for a considerable length of time in order to carry out conservation work.
The damage to the Cutty Sark was considered to be extensive. Although the fire did not reach her bow or stern, it caused large damage to her central structure.
After a lengthy investigation, it was concluded that the fire was a result of an industrial vacuum cleaner being left on over the weekend preceding the fire. It would appear that the efforts to conserve the Cutty Sark had ironically resulted in the fire that caused a lot of damage. However, due to the conservation taking place, over half of the fabric of the ship, including timber, had been removed and thus was not destroyed.
Following extensive fund raising and donations from generous individuals, the Cutty Sark was fully renovated and opened to the public once again in April 2012.
The second fire
On the 19th October 2014, the Cutty Sark suffered from another fire. As a result of the first fire, several safety procedures had been put in place to prevent such an event happening again; or in the event that it did happen, it could be contained and addressed immediately. There was no major damage to the Cutty Sark, excluding very minor damage to an area of the ship’s hull and damage caused by smoke. At the moment, it is not understood what the cause of the fire was.
The importance of the preservation of the Cutty Sark in upholding UK culture cannot be underestimated. This fine vessel represents the notoriety of the UK’s presence at sea and the UK’s ability to develop fast, reliable and technologically advanced ships. It is for these reasons that we have decided to pay tribute to the Cutty Sark through this article.
Our models of the Cutty Sark are built across three ranges, each one differing in quality. These ranges include standard, superior and premier. All models are handcrafted by skilled model makers with extensive experience; they only differ in terms of the level of detail. A greater level of detail creates a more accurate replicate of the real ship. Creating models of the Cutty Sark for customers is always an enjoyable experience because the real ship is so beautiful, both in terms of her appearance and her value to naval history and UK culture.
Enjoy the pictures of our models found below and as always if you learnt something from this article then please share it.