The Cutty Sark conservation project

London, UK

Project Description

Cutty Sark epitomises the great age of sail and is the last surviving Tea Clipper. Her remarkable history is tangible evidence of the long-term importance of the sea trade to England, and to London’s growth as the world’s pre-eminent port and trading centre. Cutty Sark’s iconic hull shape is defined by the revolutionary 19th century composite iron and timber shipbuilding technique. Specialist conservation work addresses the critical physical condition of the ship through a combination of electrolysis, mechanical cleaning and preventative coatings.

The fully accessible interior is presented in its original, cargo carrying form, allowing visitors to explore the restored decks and crew accommodation. Grimshaw’s innovative design proposed the raising of Cutty Sark within the dry berth - providing a new and captivating area for visitors under her revolutionary hull. A new supporting structure cradles the lifted ship’s hull. In addition to this, an enveloping glass canopy, attached along the ship's waterline, gives year-round protection to visitors in the dry berth. The resulting air-conditioned, accessible space exists as a place for catered events and is also used to articulate the Cutty Sark’s unique story. All works were completed for HM’s Jubilee 2012 as a gift from the Duke of Edinburgh.

Project Details

Cutty Sark Enterprises
Completion Date:
Selected Awards
Award for Structural Heritage
Structural Steel Design Award
RIBA Regional Award
Jim Stephenson