Former tea clipper Cutty Sark is finally nearing the end of £50 million restoration project in its dry dock at Greenwich. The ship, almost destroyed in a fire in May 2007 which broke out while the ship was undergoing conservation work, is expected to reopen to the public next year – just in time for the Olympics. The extensive restoration project recently marked the completion of the ship’s intricate gold leaf “gingerbread”, located on the upper hull on either side of the bow, and the figurehead (pictured). The Cutty Sark undertook her first voyage – to Shanghai – in 1870 and continued to ply the waters between China and the UK until 1878 when steamships took over the route. The ship continued, however, to operate as a cargo vessel (including hauling wool between Australia and the UK) until the early twentieth century when she was eventually restored and used as a training ship. The Cutty Sark, which last went to sea in 1938, came to London in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. She was saved from the scrapyard in 1954 when she took up her position in the drydock at Greenwich and was opened to the public in 1957. For more – including a diary of the restoration work – see www.cuttysark.org.uk.