Posts Tagged ‘Cutty Sark’

Cutty Sark.

Posted: September 18, 2019 in History, Ships
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Cutty Sark. Photo by Paul Hudson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/

Cutty Sark is the last surviving example of a Clipper. The ships got their name from the American expression ‘to go at a clip’ meaning to go fast. It became a term applied to any boat with a long narrow hull, a yacht like appearance and a large sail area. They were built for speed.

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

In the 1860s the big profitable cargo was tea from China. There was a large premium to be made for the first consignments back in London. From 1860-1870 there were about 280 British ships involved in the tea trade. The fastest passage from Shanghai to London was made by the Harlaw in 1869 at 89 days.

Cutty sark was launched in November 1869 and first set sail to Shanghai in March 1870. She was one of 9 ships owned by John ‘White hat’ Willis a Scottish businessman, who got his nickname because he always sported a white top-hat. She was designed for the tea trade with maximum capacity in the ideal shape for speed. She was made of iron frames. wooden planks and brass sheathing which was believed to be the ideal construction for speed and transporting tea.

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

In fact Cutty Sark made only 8 trips to China and her fastest time from Shanghai to London was 109 days. She would carry general cargo’s out to China and then on the return leg could carry around 600,000 kg of tea on each journey.

Tea chests in hold

Tea chests in hold

The opening of the Suez canal in 1869 was to mark the end for sailing ships in the tea race. They were unable to navigate it and so they were at a great disadvantage to steam ships which could now do the journey in around 60 days.

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

Cutty Sark was switched to transporting Wool from Australia and for many years she was the fastest ship in the wool trade. On every trip she could carry 5,000 bales of wool, each bale containing the wool from 60 sheep.

Wool bales

Wool bales

In 1895 she was sold to Ferriera and Co of Lisbon, who renamed her ‘Ferriera’. She carried general cargo to South America, Africa, the USA and Britain. In 1922 she sailed into Falmouth harbour in the south west of the UK. She was recognised by a retired Captain, William Dowman who set about raising the funds to buy the ship. She was moored in Falmouth and restoration began, She was used as a sail training ship and as a visitor attraction. In 1938 she was moved to Greenhithe on the River Thames where she became part of the Thames Nautical Training College. Eventually in 1954 she went on permanent display at Greenwich. In 2007 during renovations she was damaged by a fire. Thankfully all the artifacts and fittings had already been removed and the only thing that was seriously damaged was the decks (which were mostly 20th century anyway) although some buckling of her metal framework can be seen today. The ship re-opened to the public in April 2012.

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Greenwich Re-visited

Posted: October 31, 2017 in History, London, Ships, UK
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Model of Cutty Sark

Last Friday went to Greenwich with Steve Evans to see the Cutty Sark.

 

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Greenwich Heritage Centre

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Looking towards Canary Wharf and Docklands

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Greenwich foot tunnel (under River Thames) with City in background

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Old Royal Naval College (now University of Greenwich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunching under the Keel

Cutty Sark (8): Images of a ship

Posted: September 3, 2014 in History, Ships
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Cutty Sark - 'racing home' by Montague Dawson

Cutty Sark – ‘racing home’ by Montague Dawson

Cutty sark by Montague Dawson

Cutty sark by Montague Dawson

Cutty Sark whisky for the American market

Cutty Sark whisky for the American market

Cutty Sark in traditional rig

Cutty Sark in traditional rig

Cutty Sark as rigged in the later part of its working life

Cutty Sark as rigged in the later part of its working life

Cutty Sark at East India dock 1954 by James McBee. This was during its transfer from Greenhithe to Greenwich

Cutty Sark at East India dock 1954 by James McBee. This was during its transfer from Greenhithe to Greenwich

Cutty Sark at Greenwich 1990 by Derek Breese. Shown as displayed prior to fire of 2007

Cutty Sark at Greenwich 1990 by Derek Breese. Shown as displayed prior to fire of 2007

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“Cutty Sark June 2012” by Lauair -Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Cutty_Sark_June_2012.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cutty_Sark_June_2012.jpg

Cutty Sark (7)

Posted: August 27, 2014 in History, Ships
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The Cutty Sark was built for speed and nowhere do you get a better feeling of this than when looking at her in profile. The new display arrangement by which the ship is suspended enables you to get a real idea of how the keel would cut through the water.

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Interestingly the bridge of the ship is a rather strange affair as the helmsman faces the rear of the ship with his back to the compass.

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The way the ship is rigged and laid out (at least at present) means that anyone on the bridge could not see forward and would have relied on lookouts further forward to inform them of what lie ahead.

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It struck me that this was another big difference between this ship and warships of that era where the bridge gives a raised all-round view.

Cutty Sark (6): Cargo Hold

Posted: August 24, 2014 in History, Ships
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The Cutty Sark was designed to carry the maximum load of cargo. This was one of the reasons why the cabins were all at deck level.

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The Upper Cargo deck today is used as an exhibition space telling the history of the ship, but you can still get an impression of how it was designed with no divisions or obstacles to prevent the maximal loading of cargo.

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During the tea trade the tea was stored in wooden chests which were kept to a smaller size to enable more effiecient usage of the space available.

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When the Cutty Sark moved to the wool trade, she would carry around 5000 bales of wool per trip, each bale containing the wool from approx 60 sheep.

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Cutty Sark (5):Officers Cabins

Posted: August 3, 2014 in History, Ships
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The officer’s of the Cutty Sark were housed in a set of cabins located around the mess room.

Officers Mess

Officers Mess

The Master (equivalent of the captain) had his own cabin, whilst the Mates had to share.

Mates cabin

Mates cabin

The officers had their own Steward who prepared their meals in the pantry.

Officer's pantry

Officer’s pantry

I was fascinated by the ingenious drinks holder in the mess room

Drinks holder

Drinks holder

In order to maximise space in the holds, the seaman’s quarters were built in bunk blocks on the main deck. By comparison with the quarters in a warship they were quite spacious and comfortable. They had their own galley which was also situated in one of the two bunk blocks.

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Cutty Sark (3)

Posted: July 10, 2014 in History, Ships
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The Cutty Sark is 212 ft long and has a draft of only 21ft

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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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Cutty Sark is the last surviving example of a Clipper. The ships got their name from the American expression ‘to go at a clip’ meaning to go fast. It became a term applied to any boat with a long narrow hull, a yacht like appearance and a large sail area. They were built for speed.

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

Hull of an East Indiaman (Top) and of Cutty sark (bottom)

In the 1860s the big profitable cargo was tea from China. There was a large premium to be made for the first consignments back in London. From 1860-1870 there were about 280 British ships involved in the tea trade. The fastest passage from Shanghai to London was made by the Harlaw in 1869 at 89 days.

Cutty sark was launched in November 1869 and first set sail to Shanghai in March 1870. She was one of 9 ships owned by John ‘White hat’ Willis a Scottish businessman, who got his nickname because he always sported a white top-hat. She was designed for the tea trade with maximum capacity in the ideal shape for speed. She was made of iron frames. wooden planks and brass sheathing which was believed to be the ideal construction for speed and transporting tea.

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

Hull construction of metal frame. wooden planks and brass sheath

In fact Cutty Sark made only 8 trips to China and her fastest time from Shanghai to London was 109 days. She would carry general cargo’s out to China and then on the return leg could carry around 600,000 kg of tea on each journey.

Tea chests in hold

Tea chests in hold

The opening of the Suez canal in 1869 was to mark the end for sailing ships in the tea race. They were unable to navigate it and so they were at a great disadvantage to steam ships which could now do the journey in around 60 days.

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

The two routes from Shanghai to London once the Suez canal opened in 1869

Cutty Sark was switched to transporting Wool from Australia and for many years she was the fastest ship in the wool trade. On every trip she could carry 5,000 bales of wool, each bale containing the wool from 60 sheep.

Wool bales

Wool bales

In 1895 she was sold to Ferriera and Co of Lisbon, who renamed her ‘Ferriera’. She carried general cargo to South America, Africa, the USA and Britain. In 1922 she sailed into Falmouth harbour in the south west of the UK. She was recognised by a retired Captain, William Dowman who set about raising the funds to buy the ship. She was moored in Falmouth and restoration began, She was used as a sail training ship and as a visitor attraction. In 1938 she was moved to Greenhithe on the River Thames where she became part of the Thames Nautical Training College. Eventually in 1954 she went on permanent display at Greenwich. In 2007 during renovations she was damaged by a fire. Thankfully all the artifacts and fittings had already been removed and the only thing that was seriously damaged was the decks (which were mostly 20th century anyway) although some buckling of her metal framework can be seen today. The ship re-opened to the public in April 2012.

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