We enjoyed our visit to the newly refurbished Cutty Sark. It (she) is famous for being the fastest clipper of its generation although only for 8 years since its launch in 1869 did it (she) actually transport tea. She set records transporting wool from Australia at the end of the 19th century, spent some time in Portuguese ownership, worked as a training vessel and finally dry docked in 1954 in her present location in Greenwich.

As well as being a fine example of a sailing ship, she represents something of the tradition, value and labour of the British merchant navy over the decades and centuries that took a large part in shaping the country we have today. There is more information at the official website here.

For myself, I remember being taken as a child to visit the Cutty Sark with my family. Disaster struck and the ship caught fire in a few years ago during restoration work. When it was completed last year, I decided I would like to take a look round – partly for “old times’ sake” but also to see her new position raised above the dock where you can now literally walk underneath. It does not take long to wander round. We combined our visit with a walk under the Thames and later a visit to the Thames Barrier.