After almost six years of closure The Cutty Sark is reopened for tourists today. East London Lines was there when the Queen visited the famous 19th century clipper impressively restored after the 2007 fire and marked its return to public access.
Despite the torrential rain in Greenwich (April 25 2012) hundreds of people gathered to welcome the arrival of The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in Cutty Sark Gardens. The ship closed in 2006 for renovation and was severely damaged by fire in 2007. The fire is thought to have increased the cost of the project by £5-10 million, the overall cost totalling £50 million.
The Duke of Edinburgh has had a significant part to play in the conservation of the clipper. He founded the Cutty Sark Society in 1951, which became the Cutty Sark Fund in 2000. The commitment of organisations like these and the £25 million given by the Heritage Lottery Fund have made the restoration of one of London’s most important historical landmarks possible.
At the ceremony The Queen and His Royal Highness listened to the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra and a choir of children from ten schools. The piece was ‘Diamond Greenwich’, written by resident Errollyn Wallen to commemorate Greenwich gaining royal borough status in February of this year.
Following this, The Queen received several gifts from the Mayor of Greenwich before taking a tour of the ship. She walked through the newly furbished exhibition in the ship’s hull and extended a wave when she was on deck to those cheering below. The tour ended below the ship’s bow where Lord Sterling, the chairman of the Cutty Sark Trust, gave a short speech before the reopening of the ship by Her Majesty.
East London Lines audio report of the event:
Previous article on the reopening of the Cutty Sark; includes more pictures.