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Cutty Sark scheme lifts off

Grimshaw and Youmeheshe’s Cutty Sark conservation project took a major step forward today as the ship was removed from its dry dock.

The final piece of the original planking was taken away, allowing the 138-year-old tea clipper to be lifted 3m and creating a new visitor space beneath the hull.

It will come as welcome news to both practices, after the project hit a major setback a year ago due to a fire that ripped through the ship.

It is understood the blaze added an extra £10 million to the project, initially budgeted at £25 million.

Now a new series of supporting struts will suspend the clipper above the dock, and an enveloping glass ‘bubble’ will be attached to the ship’s waterline.

Cutty Sark Trust chief executive Richard Doughty said: ‘When one sees these enormous planks come off, one feels very much in touch with the craftsmen who shaped this extraordinary vessel, and in touch with history in a very tangible way.

‘Some of these planks are from trees which must have been saplings at the time of the Battle of Agincourt [in 1415]. We have taken off all 530 planks, and despite the terrible fire last year, every single one of them will be conserved and returned to the ship.’

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