Over 400,000 people have visited clipper ship Cutty Sark, since reopening in April 2012 after an ambitious six-year conservation project. Launched in 1869, Cutty Sark is the only ship to be classified a Grade 1 listed building. The project addressed fundamental structural issues which threatened the future of Cutty Sark; Heritage Lottery Fund grants undoubtedly saved the ship, preserving her for future generations to enjoy. National Lottery backing also helped the Trust secure support from other trusts, foundations and individuals. In a brilliant feat of engineering, Cutty Sark was raised 11 feet (3.3 metres) into the air, relieving the pressures on her original fabric and revealing the elegant lines of the innovative streamlined hull, which enabled the ship to make record-breaking passages around the world.
Visitors can now have the unique experience of walking under a three-masted sailing ship. Access to Cutty Sark and her stories has been significantly improved and the ship is now fully accessible to wheelchair users. In addition, a programme of family entertainment includes creative workshops, performances, games, tea-tasting and storytelling, all included with admission.
Curator, Jessica Lewis said: “A visit to Cutty Sark is a 360 degree experience: the exhibits fill all the senses with evocative smells, dramatic lighting, film, audio presentations, manual interactives – for example knot-tying or tea chest puzzles – and tactile plans, models and audio descriptions, developed specifically for visually impaired visitors but used and enjoyed by all.”
This project sought not only to conserve the ship, but also to secure its future. The newly created displays and exciting programme for schools and family audiences are attracting new diverse audiences and generating income to meet future maintenance needs and preserve the ship for future generations.
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