Cutty Sark Destroyed

By M@ Last edited 132 months ago
Cutty Sark Destroyed

Fire has gutted the Cutty Sark. The blaze is now out, but the famous tea clipper appears to have been reduced to a charred shell. This is a significant loss to London.

The fire started just before 5am. The cause remains unknown, although authorities are treating it as suspicious.

Pictures on BBC news suggest that the prow remains intact, and some sections of the hull may be salvageable. All masts and decking appear to have been lost, however. (Note: these are safely in storage, according to one commenter.)

The 138-year old ship is a key tourist attraction. It is so important to the area that the local light-rail station was christened ‘Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich’ – the longest name on the network – so as to reference the ship.

The clipper had been closed to the public for some time, during a £25 million renovation.

The fire will be devastating to the thousands who have devoted time and resources to preserving the vessel. As such, we’ll skip our usual flippancy and irreverence, and make no connections with the other classic ship which has just arrived in the capital.

Console yourself with a non-flammable virtual tour.

Update: It now seems around 50% of the ship was in storage. And despite the ferrocity of the blaze, much of the planking is OK: "There are pockets of charred planking and some have gone, but it doesn't look as bad as first envisaged," Chris Livett, Chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises told the BBC.

Image taken from Geo8's Flickr photostream.

Last Updated 21 May 2007


The masts and decking have not been lost, the cuty sark was under restoration, over 50% of the boat is in storage including the masts and decking...

once again a jump to conclusions!


Wow, that's fortunate. Maybe something can be salvaged after all.

Stu N

The masts, rigging, figureheads and about half the planking weren't there, and about 20% of what was there is salvageable, apparently. And a lot of the framework structure was going to be replaced anyway. It'll come back, but there's still a lot that's lost.


How very sad. One of my very favourite things to do in London was to walk through the pedestrian tunnel from the Isle of Dogs and then come out in front of the Cutty Sark. I do hope that it can be restored.

Edwin Lyons

Very sad. I hope it was insured!


It's not just the material loss that locals will be upset by. The fact that this could be arson is shocking and scary. Greenwich residents will be furious if this is the case. Just because 50% of the boat was in storage, this doesn't mean it's ok for someone to set fire to the other half. Residents will fight back for this amazing piece of history and this isn't going to go away quietly.


Maybe when it comes back it should be renamed the Cutty Spark.


It is a terrible tragedy, and I for one am very upset, but I do think that a lot of confusion has been caused by the restoration. The masts have been down since before Christmas, and hardly any of the ship was visible as it was covered by a roof and undergoing restoration, with much of the original material elsewhere. Someone on posted a photo taken this lunchtime saying, "There's hardly anything left" and giving the impression that the whole ship had been destroyed by fire, when in fact, apart from the burnt roof, the picture wasn't hugely dissimilar to how the ship has looked for months now. You need an aerial view to see the real damage, which does indeed look bad, but if you weren't aware how much of the ship was missing to start with it looks a lot more shocking than it really, actually, is.

Chris Bray

It's a sad day for all of us who love old ships , but we now need to BUILD a new ship. Call it " Spirt of Cutty Sark ". A tall ship to joint our other sail training fleet. Its time to look to the future.