Her Majesty The Queen reopens Cutty Sark

Her Majesty The Queen reopens Cutty Sark

This follows an extensive conservation project, with major support totalling £25million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The following day (26 April) the ship opens to visitors for the first time since 2006. 

Also, on 12 April 2012, the Trustees of Cutty Sark and the Trustees of Royal Museums Greenwich were pleased to announce that following her completion, the ship will come under the operational management of Royal Museums Greenwich. 

Lord Sterling, Chairman of both the Royal Museums Greenwich and the Cutty Sark Trust, said “Cutty Sark holds an unique place in the heart for the people of Greenwich, Great Britain and indeed the rest of the world, and it is splendid that she is re-joining the London skyline once again. Cutty Sark is set in the newly landscaped Cutty Sark Gardens, created by Greenwich Council, one of our strongest supporters. We are indebted to those members of the public, from all over the world, who have generously contributed to the preservation of this much loved national treasure. We are also deeply appreciative of the many other major institutions, government bodies and foundations that have played a key role in providing the funds. In particular, our deep thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund who have supported the project and stood by Cutty Sark through its difficult times, particularly following the fire, and allocating £25million of public money raised through the National Lottery.

Cutty Sark’s re-launch comes in an exceptional year for Greenwich, which was granted the status of Royal Borough in February, and will have the eyes of the world upon it during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic Games this summer. On 25 June 1957 Her Majesty opened Cutty Sark to the public for the first time and we are delighted that on 25 April, this year, The Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh, who has been President of the Cutty Sark Trust since 1951, will return to re-open the ship.”

Richard Doughty, Director of the Cutty Sark Trust, said: “We have been privileged to be involved in conserving Cutty Sark and restoring her to her key position in the Greenwich World Heritage Site. Our solution, a world first, will secure Cutty Sark’s future so that she can continue to inspire many new generations of adventurers at the heart of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.”

Kevin Fewster, Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, said: “Cutty Sark is an iconic London landmark and a much loved part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Bringing Cutty Sark into the Royal Museums Greenwich family strengthens the links between some of the key attraction of this unique World Heritage Site and helps us to explore the extraordinary maritime stories we have to tell.”

The re-launch marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the extraordinary life of the world famous, three-masted clipper. It is the culmination of six years’ work and one of the most complex conservation projects ever undertaken on a historic ship. The project has succeeded in rescuing Cutty Sark and preventing her collapse, whilst preserving as much of the ship’s original fabric from the period of her working life as possible. Moreover, the innovative scheme also provides generations to come with a new way to engage with the ship and explore her history.  

In a brilliant feat of engineering, Cutty Sark has been raised 11 feet (3.3 meters) into the air, relieving the keel of the weight of the ship and preserving her unique shape. For the first time, visitors can walk underneath the ship and view the elegant lines of her hull, revealing the innovative design which was the secret to her success - enabling her to reach the record-breaking speed of 17 ½ knots (20 mph/32kmph) from Sydney to London. The space also showcases Cutty Sark’s extensive collection of over 80 ships’ figureheads, never before displayed in its entirety on the site.

The ship’s weather deck and rigging have been painstakingly restored to their original specification, with 11 miles (17.5 km) of rigging supporting the masts.  Below deck visitors can explore Cutty Sark’s rich and varied history through new interactive exhibitions.

Launched in 1869 from Dumbarton, Scotland, Cutty Sark visited most major ports around the world. She carried cargo ranging from the finest teas to gunpowder, and from whisky to buffalo horns. Cutty Sark made her name as the fastest ship of her era during her time in the wool trade. Many of the tea clippers that sailed the China Seas during the nineteenth century lasted for only a few years and only seven saw the twentieth century. By the mid-1920s Cutty Sark was the only one still afloat and from 1938 became a training ship for the Incorporated Thames Training College at Greenhithe.

In December 1954, due to the great efforts of The Duke of Edinburgh Cutty Sark came to Greenwich, where she became, and remains, a memorial to the great days of sail and to all those who served in the merchant service.

Information for visitors:

  • Tickets to Cutty Sark can be purchased online at www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark .
  • Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday, 10.00 – 17.00 (open bank holidays, closed 25-26 December and Mondays until November 26th)
  • Visitor enquiries: 020 8858 2698
  • Admission: Adult £12 / Concession £9.50 /child £6.50 (aged 5-15) / Family tickets £20 (1 adult and  2 children), £29 (2 adults and up to 2 children)
  • Bundled tickets will be available with the other Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) attractions.
  • Transport: Cutty Sark is located a short walk from the Cutty Sark DLR, and Maze Hill and Greenwich train stations. The closest tube stations are North Greenwich (to change to local buses) and Canary Wharf (to change to DLR), both on the Jubilee line.

Notes to editors

  1. Cutty Sark Trust - In 1951 The Cutty Sark Preservation Society, was formed by Frank Carr, Director of the National Maritime Museum and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to ensure the preservation of Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper.  The Cutty Sark Trust, a charity registered in 2000, is the successor of The Cutty Sark Preservation Society. The Trust’s objectives are to conserve, maintain, interpret and display Cutty Sark, promoting access to formal and informal learning opportunities.
  2. Royal Museums Greenwich holds the world’s largest maritime collection. It is housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It incorporates the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, and 17th-century Queen’s House. The museums work to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. Royal Museums Greenwich welcomes over 1.8million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research. For more information visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
  3. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating £4.7billion across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF Press Office, on 020 7591 6036.
  4. The Royal Borough of Greenwich was granted Royal status on 3 February 2102. Councillor Chris Roberts, the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, is a Trustee of the Cutty Sark Trust. The Royal Borough provided financial support to ensure the restoration and conservation works on the Cutty Sark could be undertaken. It is responsible for Cutty Sark Gardens, the area in which the ship is located, which has also recently benefitted from a major restoration project. Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said “The Cutty Sark is an iconic symbol of our Maritime Heritage and I’m proud of the role we have played in restoring and conserving the ship and the surrounding Gardens. A significant number of local residents were employed on the project and hundreds of local schoolchildren are looking forward to welcoming the Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh when they visit Greenwich for the first time since bestowing Royal Status upon us. Whilst it promises to be a day to remember for everyone involved, the ship will provide lasting memories for the 18million people who visit Royal Greenwich each year and view the borough's most iconic gateway."
  5. Primary sponsor - HSBC have been named as the primary sponsor of Cutty Sark. HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services to around 89million customers through four global businesses; Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management, Global Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking. HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 7,200 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North and Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,556bn at 31 December 2011, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC Group Chairman, Douglas Flint, said: "HSBC was founded in Asia to finance trade with the West five years before Cutty Sark first set sail in 1870. Although times have changed we still see trade as the biggest driver of economic and business growth, so while Cutty Sark is an emblem of past glories, she is also a reminder of the opportunities and excitement that global trade represents. HSBC is delighted to have this opportunity to support the Cutty Sark Trust.”
  6. Trading partner - Twinings
  7. Trading partner - The Woolmark Company is owned by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), a not for profit enterprise owned by over 29,000 Australian woolgrowers, operating across the textile pipeline through to consumers to promote Merino as the world’s premier natural fibre. Working through the global supply chain – from farm to fashion, The Woolmark Company aims to educate and inspire designers, retailers and consumers. Carrying out B2B and B2C marketing initiatives and working on product development and innovation to increase demand and awareness for Australian Merino wool. Rob Langtry Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Woolmark Company/AWI said, "The partnership between The Woolmark Company and The Cutty Sark reflects the historical link between the clipper and the Australian Merino wool trade. Together, we are committed to educating visitors about the importance of wool throughout the past and its valued relevance today as a fibre linked to a wealth of heritage and artisanship. It is exciting to reconnect consumers with the skills involved in the growing, processing and manufacture of fine Merino wool garments right from the farm to the retailer, a message we can share and communicate through our support of the Cutty Sark restoration project.”
  8. Trading partner - The Edrington Group is Scotland's leading international premium spirits company. They own and produce some of the best known Scotch brands in the world and this is supported by a number of specialist operations covering every facet of Scotch whisky, including distilling, blending and bottling. Today, Cutty Sark is one of the top 10 selling Blended Scotch whiskies in the world. Particularly strong in Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, where it is popular in the fast moving on-trade and amongst twenty and thirty something's.The brand continues to have a strong presence in America and thanks to the strength of The Edrington Group distribution network, is increasing its footprint in Asia and developing markets. The core packaging was updated in late 2011 and the premium end of the range will be enhanced in early 2012 along with some new distinctive special editions. Since Cutty Sark Scotch whisky was first introduced in 1923, it has sold over one billion bottles worldwide. Jason R Craig, Brand Controller, Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky said, “The Cutty Sark is the most famous of the Scottish-built clippers and the pioneers who created our blended Scotch whisky in 1923 were inspired by her elegant beauty and her international fame. The clipper has featured on our label ever since as an invitation to embrace adventure and take to do things differently. We are proud of our contribution to the restoration and are delighted to see the re-opening of one of London’s key landmarks.”
  9. Trading partner - Sammy Ofer Gallery – This gallery, located in the newly created space under the ship, is named after the late Sammy Ofer KBE, an international shipping magnate and philanthropist. The shipping group which he founded today operates a significant part of its fleet from London, with over 90 vessels flying the Red Ensign. Through his longstanding relationship with London and its shipping community, Sammy Ofer held a deep appreciation and respect for the long maritime tradition and history of the UK.  A renowned philanthropist, Sammy Ofer gave £3.8million towards the restoration of Cutty Sark. He also donated over £20million to the National Maritime Museum towards the creation of the Sammy Ofer Wing which opened in July 2011. In 2008 he was appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in recognition of his support for maritime heritage.
  10. Trading partner - Grimshaw is an award-winning architectural practice with a reputation for design excellence.  Founded in 1980, Grimshaw operates worldwide, with offices in London, New York and Melbourne and Sydney employing over 300 staff. Their international portfolio covers various sectors, with substantial experience in transport, educational facilities, arts and leisure and masterplanning. Notable completed projects include the multi-award winning International Terminal at Waterloo Station, the critically acclaimed Eden Project in Cornwall and the Lebetkin Prize winning Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Current projects in design include Pulkovo Airport in Russia, London Bridge Station, Miami Science Museum and the ‘Wimbledon 2020’ masterplan for the All England Tennis Club. For further information contact Chris Spence: communications@grimshaw-architects.co.uk
  11. Trading partner - Buro Happold is an independent international practice of consulting engineers. Since 1976 they have grown in size and reach to serve public and private clients across a full range of sectors through an international network of 27 offices. They draw on the multi-disciplinary skills, knowledge and experience of their local experts to design and deliver award winning building, infrastructure and environmental projects. Current and recent projects include the Grand Museum of Egypt (Cairo), the Louvre (Abu Dhabi), the Aviva Stadium (Dublin), the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, the King Abdullah Financial District (Riyadh), the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Stratford) and the O2 (London). For further information contact Gill Sincock: gill.sincock@burohappold.com
  12. Funders for the Cutty Sark conservation project include: HLF, DCMS, Sammy Ofer Foundation, Greenwich Council, London Development Authority, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Michael Edwards, Alisher Usmanov.

Further information

For further information or images, please contact the Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office on 020 8312 6545 / 6790 or email: press@rmg.co.uk.

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