Cutty Sark (2): What is a Cutty Sark?

Posted: July 7, 2014 in History, Ships
Tags: ,

A cutty sark is a name given in lowland Scotland to a short shift worn by ladies. The most famous garment is that worn by the witch Nannie in Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’. In the poem Tam discovers a coven of witches and is chased by Nannie who manages to pull the tail off his horse before he is able to escape.

The Figurehead from Cutty Sark shows Nannie holding the horses tail, although it is likely that the tail was only attached whilst the ship was in port.

The replacement figurehead at the bow

The replacement figurehead at the bow

The original figurehead (now under cover in the museum)

The original figurehead (now under cover in the museum)

John Willis also had a wind vane made in the shape of a cutty sark to celebrate a fast journey from Australia to London in 1886. It was attached to the main mast whilst the ship was in port. It was lost during a storm in 1916 but turned up in an auction room in London in 1960.

The original Cutty Sark Vane

The original Cutty Sark Vane

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