Anorak News | The Cutty Sark For Tea And Country

The Cutty Sark For Tea And Country

by | 22nd, May 2007

THE Cutty Sark, that tea-ferrying pearl of Britain’s trading empire, is burnt.

Tristram Hunt salutes the “Ferrari of the High Seas“:

But the Cutty Sark was really about free trade. The tea and wool – and, later, coffee and cotton – it brought to London from China, Australia, north America and east Africa were part of a global market in which Britain stood centre-stage. As such, to some City minds, it is the original herald of free enterprise: a vessel embodying the “gift” of an international free market which the British empire helped bequeath to the world.

All very grand staff. Although the choice of words – herald of free enterprise – takes minds back to a greater maitime tragedy.

Libby Purves writes in the Times:

London mourns a landmark, a ship dry-docked in 1954 as a memorial to sailors of the merchant service lost in war or wreck. For more than half a century Cutty Sark has defined the city’s southeastern edges; her slender pencil shape, technologically extraordinary in its day, made her seem to be always in rapid motion. Her soaring masts lifted the spirits. My first child was born in Greenwich, and we often brought the baby to gaze at the scudding clouds behind the yardarms. Through Greenwich’s scruffy doldrum years the Cutty Sark brought the borough pride, and visitors, and identity, just as much as the Queen Anne buildings (and rather more than the infernal Dome).

And it hard not to feel a pang. The Cutty Sarks was where all London school children go on an outing. It must be restored…

Posted: 22nd, May 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink