More Stirrings of the New

Stephen saw some decks arriving in Greenwich yesterday, signs that, despite the almost complete lack of news, things are going on behind the hoardings at the Cutty Sark. I say ‘almost’ complete lack, as I did, and I’m sure many of you did too, finally receive a newsletter through the post a couple of days ago after months and months and months of silence. I guess I’m pleased to hear something – but this is far too little, far too late.

The ‘Ship’s Blog’ (great name, shame about the contents) has been woeful – full of ‘…On this day in 1899 such and such happened…’ posts  which is fine every so often, I do ‘em myself from time to time, but I wanted to know about the restoration process, upon which the blog has been almost entirely silent. As a local, and someone who desperately wanted to be involved, to know what was happening and yes, to have helped raise money to fund it  through this blog, I have felt shut out,  uninformed and disengaged. The hoardings went up and communications went dead.

Almost from the start I got the feeling that the sort of money I could have helped raise, not being a Royal, a celebrity or a billionaire businessman, wasn’t enough to even warrant bothering with. Even now, the latest blog post is asking for people to run the marathon for them – as long as they guarantee to raise a certain amount of cash. Now admittedly this is something all charities require, but they at least try to entice people to help them first rather than announcing the required commitment in the second line. Again – had they engaged local people in the cause, had they talked to us – even if they weren’t interested in the town’s myriad bloggers there are still local papers desperate for anything newsworthy – they might have got more takers. Hell –  I might have got out the Phantom jogging shorts (okay, maybe that’s going a little too far…) 

But stuff is now visibly happening and that, at least we should be thankful for. Frankly, now I just want to see something finished. Arguments as to whether the ship is strong enough to take being raised over 3m to accommodate the corporate events space are no longer relevant – it’s happening and we have to have faith that it’s okay. I notice that the rather wonderful curved glass bubble around the ship has now been relegated to being a sort of  lean-to greenhouse, but  hey, that can still look pretty funky, and  if weddings and conferences can prevent the ship from ever getting into such a state again, I’m all for it. 

I truly am looking forward to the day when I’ll be coming home to Greenwich – on the boat or the train (might have to crane my neck on the train), I’ll catch a glimpse again of that rigging and smile. With the re-landscaping of the surrounding area  (and for once I find myself siding with Greenwich Council over the guys at EH who had wanted a more ‘docklands’ feel rather than soft landscaping – urban docklands is all very well, but that space is ghastly – a frost trap in the depths of winter, a wind tunnel in the spring and autumn and a mini Sahara in the summer – anything that would make that combination more appealing to arriving boat visitors is okay by me) – perhaps the centre of Greenwich will start to be something to be proud of again.

Despite what this post must look like, I wish the guys at the Cutty Sark the very best of luck. I just wish they’d thought to include local people – they would have found them only too happy to help, to listen and even to pitch in. 


the attachments to this post:

cutty sark planks stephen 1
cutty sark planks stephen 1

cutty sark planks stephen 2
cutty sark planks stephen 2


7 Comments to “More Stirrings of the New”

  1. Dazza says:

    Its a pity they have ditched the ‘bubble’ design and gone for a B+Q Greenhouse affair. Anyone trying to get the wonderful photo of the ship as a whole will be sorely disappointed. I thought the view from the pier by the steps was one of the best angles to see the majesty that is Cutty Sark. But now we are to have the ‘lean to’ you will get lovely white lines across the body of the Ship. Not the best look. Still, I suspect that if you have enough time and patience you could do something with PhotoShop and still get the feeling of the gracefulness and speed for which she was built.

  2. The Sheila says:

    Well said TGP – I entirely agree with your sentiments.

  3. Pedro says:

    £40m for a greenhouse. Someone at Everest windows or one of their competitors must be banking a very large commission cheque.

    Let’s hope that they’ve done a better job on the structural elements than on the aesthetics.

  4. darryl says:

    I don’t think you’re being harsh on the Cutty Sark’s PR team at all – for the amount of public cash going into the restoration, they should be a lot more proactive in getting the word out about what’s happening. I think they’re taking local opinion for granted, to be honest.

  5. Stephen says:

    “but that space is ghastly”.

    Exactly what I thought yesterday.

    The entrance fee to Cutty Sark was £5 when she closed in 2006. What’s the betting it will be £15 when she opens again? Of course hardly any locals went on her anyway. I remember I had a look around one open house weekend when entrance was free and I probably visited many years ago when I was at school at Roan.

  6. Cerletone says:

    Oh dear. Another tourism opportunity in Greenwich goes tits up. They’d be better building a Westfield round it than a cheap and nasty greenhouse. I didn’t care much for the glass bubble that was planned, so this new thing won’t do much to appeal.

    I too took a trip around the ship before it closed down. I have to say, it was bloody boring.

  7. Stephen says:

    Here are some comments from the Cutty Sark site about the greenhouse, not one in favour.

    http://www.cuttysark.org.uk/index.cfm?fa=contentNews.newsDetails&newsID=1242978&from=list#135497