Monday, 22 July 2013

Cutty Sark

London Part 2

Arrived in Greenwich by the river bus to go and see the newly renovated Cutty Sark, a beautiful
tea clipper that once was one of the fasted ships in the ocean.
She has been in dry dock as a museum since the 1950's and all that time she has been balanced on her hull, and as any of you who are sailors know that is not where a boats weight is designed to rest.  That should be on the widest part of the hull which is where the boat and sea meet.
So slowly over the years the hull has been caving outwards from the pressure. Not good.
So a few years back she went under a major restoration, re-opening last year,
 the main feature was re-designing how she rested.

The solution to this problem was joists that supported her from her water line and they were disguised in this beautiful glass sea. I think that this is one of those occasions when the modern and the traditional work really well together.
In the photo below you can see her name sake, her figure head is the image of the 'Cutty Sark' who is a character from Robert Burns poem 'Tam O'Shanter'
When you enter the museum you are at the ships water level, and can really appreciate her curves.
In the back ground you can see the joists supporting her.
You walk up into her hull where her cargo would have been stored, originally this would have been tea. The designers have been very clever decorating the floor and display units with the images of old tea chests, also the air is scented with tea, gorgeous. 
Its those small touches that I think really make a museum special. 

And there was this amazing 'game' you had to navigate the ship from Sydney to London, using the trade winds, and see if you could beat the record breaking Captain.  Well I shipwrecked three times getting past Sydney (!) then got back in 163 days, the Captain took 72, oh well, more practise I think!

Once again the old and the new over lap,
here you can see Canary Wharf behind the rigging.

I think this gorgeous monkey was carved with a chainsaw,
 have seen an artist working like this in Gabriel's Wharf, sadly there was no label.

What amazing location for a café, right under her burnish copper hull.
Fancy a cupper with the ship that helped fuel our love of tea hanging above you!

Then at the far end of the Gallery was this amazing collection of figure heads
Maybe alittle gordy, for some!

But I liked this weather un-painted one best

Only final look down her hull, what a beautiful boat, and what a fantastic restoration.
If you are in London it really is worth going to see.

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