Ssssh… it’s a new image of the Cutty Sark

Blink and you’ll miss it, but a new artists’ impression of what a restored Cutty Sark should look like in 2012 has appeared on its website (or had done, it crashed while I was preparing this post). It’s slightly different from the last image, which appeared on the front of council puff sheet Greenwich Time in February after its restoration had finally been confirmed, indicating that the glass “bubble” structure which will surround the base of the ship, helping it become a hospitality venue, has been refined slightly.

Despite the fact that work is obviously progressing on the ship, I still can’t help feeling it’s more a case of “if” rather than “when” the Cutty Sark reemerges from the fire and restoration process. Maybe it’s the fact that the PR operation on the ship’s restoration has frankly been crap, with little attempt to bring locals onside in all this. (My free advice for their PR team: “Butter up the Greenwich Phantom.”) With Greenwich town centre looking like a building site at the moment, we need to cling on any hope we can get that it’ll all be worth it.

The sense of farce around Greenwich town centre and the area around the Cutty Sark is heightened by a notice still lingering in the foot tunnel entrance detailing the restoration of Cutty Sark Gardens. No, not the plans the council submitted last month, but the last refurb, completed in May 1999 as a millennium project, replacing what was admittedly a hideous grey space. Hopefully the Greenwich which emerges from scaffolding in 2012 will be fit to last longer than that little scheme did.

(Thanks to Brockley Central for the spot.)


  1. Before, it was sailing on a sea of glass. Now it’s landed on top of a conservatory.

    It was supposed to be ‘iconic’. Instead it’s pathetic. And we’ve paid something like £46 million – £46 million! – for this, when to restore the Citty Sark as a working boat in a specialist boatyard would have cost 4 or 5 million. It’s scandalous.

  2. Rather more concealed by a conservatory. This is as nice an illustration as you could hope for of how glass with its tendency to reflect just ain’t transparent at all. Surely, when the restoration was first mooted, there was to be a glass pavement? Or is my memory utterly wrong? In any case this design is utterly wrong. I suspect the desire for a hospitality venue is at the root of it. Bad brief begets bad design.

  3. looks like they’ve gone for the considerably cheaper option of achieving a curve effect using flat glass panes in the gherkin style.

  4. i think it is very sad that a ship of such presence and beauty is blighted by an intrusive and obnoxious “bubble”. the esthetics are violated. it is akin to painting a wart on the nose of the mona Llsa

  5. I saw the Cutty Sark late last year, and frankly I was appalled at the completely intrusive nature of the “glass bubble”

    It obscures totally the waterline, so presumably the only people who will be able to appreciate her famous lines will be the paying visitors inside the bubble. The treatment given to the Great Britain would have been much more successful, though still not as authentic and desirable as a standard dry dock.

    When she was sitting in the dry dock, at least anyone could appreciate her hull in all its glory from so many different angles, these views are now sadly are only memories.

Comments are closed.