The Cutty Sark is an iconic feature of the London landscape, but is in desperate need of conservation work. © Cutty Sark Trust.
The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark, which is in desperate need of extensive conservation, has been given a life-saving grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
"The Heritage Lottery Fund has effectively saved the ship" said Richard Doughty, the Chief Executive of the Cutty Sark Trust. "Without this funding we would be looking at its closure in 2007 and perhaps even her demolition."
The two-stage £12.95m grant represents half of the £25m needed to conserve and regenerate the last remaining fast clipper ship at her Greenwich home.
The grant will be given in two parts, a £1.2m development grant and the pledge of £11.75m for when £12m in match-funding has been raised. Overall it marks a breakthrough in the bid to keep the ship afloat.
A graphic impression of what the conserved Cutty Sark will look like. © Cutty Sark Trust.
Developed with architects Grimshaw, the groundbreaking project will not only conserve the fabric of the ship, but ensure she maintains her status as a world class tourist attraction. A revolutionary new support system will see the Cutty Sark raised and suspended in a Kevlar web, which will preserve the shape and enable visitors to walk underneath the famous ship.
Built in Dumbarton in 1869, the Cutty Sark takes its name from the Scottish phrase for a short shift dress, which features in the famous Robbie Burns poem Tam O’ Shanter. A boy, Tam, sees witches dancing in the wood, one of whom, Nannie is wearing a very revealing cutty sark.
Nannie became the figurehead on the newly built ship and fittingly, over 100 years later, the HLF grant was given on Burn’s Night, January 25.
"We believe the Heritage Lottery Fund decision reflects the feeling of the nation for this much loved ship," said Maurice de Rohan OBE, Chairman of the Cutty Sark Trust and Agent General for The State of South Australia. "But we are not home and dry yet, we must match their funding for the project to go ahead, and we have one year to get pledges for the other £12m. It’s time to visit Cutty Sark again."
David Livingstone manuscript showing a drawing of a fish found in Lake Nyassa, part of the John Murray Archive. Courtesy National Library of Scotland.
As well as pledging millions to the future of the Cutty Sark, the Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a round of grants that are set to transform a series of institutions up and down the UK.
A massive £17.7m has been earmarked to help the National Library of Scotland acquire the John Murray Archive, considered to be an incomparable piece of 19th century history.
Established in 1768, the Edinburgh-based firm became one of the most highly regarded and influential publishing houses in the UK. Consisting of 150,000 manuscripts, papers and correspondence between the publisher and such figures as David Livingstone, Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott and Benjamin Disraeli, it includes the most extensive collection of Byron's work in the world.
Major funds, £15m are also set to make their way to Glasgow and the development of the city’s new Riverside Museum.
An artist's impression of what one of the new galleries at the Great North Museum will look like. © Casson Mann.
As well as providing a new home for the Museum of Transport, the institution will form an integral part of the £800m regeneration of Glasgow Harbour. A development grant of £990,000 has been handed over, with the £15m to follow.
A little to the south £8.7m has been earmarked for the Great North Museum project, which will see a new institution created at the Hancock Museum of Natural History.
The Hancock's collection will be combined with those of the Shefton Museum and Museum of Antiquities to create a unique focus for Newcastle's developing cultural quarter.
Dorset’s Tank Museum now looks set carry out major work following the award of £496,000 in development funds and the earmarking of a further £8.7m.
A glass or two is raised at the Tank Museum in Dorset as news of the £8.7m grant is announced.
It is hoped that the At Close Quarters project will result in a truly state-of-the-art institution. As well as more exhibition space, the tanks will be better interpreted, while accessibility and environmental conditions will be improved.
Heading further west, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter also looks set to benefit from an £8m overhaul. The city council intends to completely transform the visitor experience.
The Grade II listed building, built in the 1860s, will be thoroughly refurbished and an extension added to house a temporary exhibition space and education facilities.
"From the conservation of an iconic ship in a world heritage site to saving a truly unique archive for the UNESCO City of Literature and transforming four museums, today’s announcement demonstrates the extraordinary breadth of our work in supporting heritage that really matters to people," said Carole Souter, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund.