Cutty Sark burnt out in suspected arson attack

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Sunday, 20 May, 2007 - 23:00

One of London's most famous tourist attractions, the tea clipper Cutty Sark, has been devastated in a fire this morning.  Firefighters are still putting out the flames and believe that the fire was started deliberately.

Since October 2006, the Cutty Sark has been undergoing an extensive programme of conservation to treat corrosion of the metal parts and restore unsound structural timbers.  A large proportion of original timbers from the ship had been removed  for conservation and  so  escaped  damage  in this morning's  fire.  Early  reports  suggest that, although  the  losses will be severe,  it  may  also be  possible  to  rescue  some of  the timbers from  the  fire.

The  ship  has  been  visited  by  more than 15 million people in  dry  docks  in  Greenwich since her restoration and public opening in 1957, becoming a well  known London landmark. According to the Cutty Sark Society, which manages the ship, the Cutty Sark is historically significant because "she is the world's sole surviving extreme clipper, a type of vessel that was the highest development of the fast commercial sailing ship, with the majority of her hull fabric surviving from her original construction".

 Fire rips through the Cutty  Sark  -- BBC News

 Fire devastates Cutty  Sark  -- Guardian online

 Cutty  Sark  Society  website