Historic ship Cutty Sark rises from ashes after $81 million restoration

Story highlights

  • The Cutty Sark will reopen to the public in London this week
  • $81 million has been spent restoring the historic ship
  • The Queen and Prince Phillip will give the vessel their royal blessing
One of Britain's most cherished maritime treasures will complete a miraculous rise from the ashes when it reopens to the public later this week.
The Cutty Sark was devastated by fire in May 2007 but a £50 million ($81 million) restoration project has seen the historic vessel returned to its previous majestic glory.
The 143-year-old vessel is the world's last surviving tea clipper -- a type of nineteenth century merchant sailing ship renowned for its speed -- and was once considered the epitome of commercial maritime technology.
It will receive the royal seal of approval when the Queen and Prince Phillip preside over its reopening ceremony in Greenwich, London, on Wednesday.
As part of the extensive restoration process the vessel has been raised 11 feet (3.3 meters) above ground, with its lower levels encased in a glass casing symbolic of the sea.
This new feature enables visitors to walk underneath the ship, exposing the design and engineering feats that enabled the Cutty Sark to reach what were once record-breaking sailing speeds of 17 and a half knots (20 mph).