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Steel supports restoration of the Cutty Sark

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(Photos courtesy of Grimshaw’s)

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich is to be restored in an ambitious £25M project to preserve the world’s only remaining tea clipper for future generations. Steel compression rods and cables will form part of a huge temporary enclosure of fabric tubes and transparent ETFE membranes. The enclosure will protect the vessel from the elements during the three year project.

Major works will include the raising of The Cutty Sark from its dry berth by 1.5m. This will free the vessel from props and shores that have begun to distort the shape of its hull, and enable visitors to walk beneath the ship. Steel cantilever arms anchored into the dry dock will secure a Kevlar web that will support the vessel in its new elevated position.

Restoration of the ship is badly needed. Its iron framework has suffered corrosion, wooden planks have decayed and many bolts holding planks to iron frames have failed. Works will include replacing the main deck and keel.

A glass structure to be built beside the vessel is designed to give the impression that the Cutty Sark is sailing through waves. Works will begin in September 2006, depending on the approval of an £11M grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, news of which was due as we went to press. Architect is Nicholas Grimshaw and structural engineer is Adams Kara Taylor.

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