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Taxpayer bails out Cutty Sark rebuild

PUBLISHED: 11:34 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 25 August 2010

LONDON - MAY 20:  A restorer works on the hull of the Cutty Sark on May 20, 2008 in London. Restoration work continues on the tea clipper housed in a dry dock in Greenwich one year after a fire nearly destroyed her.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

LONDON - MAY 20: A restorer works on the hull of the Cutty Sark on May 20, 2008 in London. Restoration work continues on the tea clipper housed in a dry dock in Greenwich one year after a fire nearly destroyed her. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

TAXPAYERS have stepped in to meet the £3million shortfall to restore the Cutty Sark in time for the Olympic Games. The grant, announced last Thursday, is made up of contributions by the government, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Greenwich council, the Great

TAXPAYERS have stepped in to meet the £3million shortfall to restore the Cutty Sark in time for the Olympic Games.

The grant, announced last Thursday, is made up of contributions by the government, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Greenwich council, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and thousands of private donors.

As reported in the Times last October the Cutty Sark Trust was hit by the shortfall and a nine-month delay.

Chief executive of the Cutty Dark Trust Richard Doughty blamed the delays on the level of corrosion on the frames below the timbers in the stern and bow, claiming it was worse than workers predicted.

This meant more surveys had to be done, greater strengthening and the addition of up to 30 sister frames before the wooden blanks could go in.

Interim chairman of the Cutty Sark Trust Maldwin Drummond said: "As custodians of the ship, my trustees and I are hugely moved by the enormous generosity displayed by so many to ensure that this ship is preserved for future generations.

"Undeniably, it has been a very difficult year for us, but particular thanks are due to the energetic efforts and persuasive skills of Lord Sterling and to Councillor Roberts, Leader of Greenwich council in closing the funding gap."

This extra money came after a £23million donation by the Heritage Lottery Fund, increased from £10million and a £3.3million gift from Israeli shipping magnate Sammy Ofer.

The ship was undergoing major renovations when it was ravaged by fire in May 2007. At the time much of the ship had been de-rigged and stripped as part of the works programme.

Now, 90 per cent of the original ship remains, after major parts were already removed from the waterside site. This included planks, rigging and the figurehead - Cutty Sark, a Scottish term for a petticoat worn by Nannie, a beautiful witch in the Robbie Burns' poem Tam O'Shanter.

The Cutty Sark, built in 1869, is the last survivor of the greyhounds of the sea - the tea clippers which raced to the east for the precious harvest of tea.


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