Touch Cutty Sark's copper hull

Essential information

Opening times: 
10.00–17.00 daily
Cutty Sark, Lower Ground: The Dock
Free to members

Reach up and touch the beautiful, gleaming copper hull of the tea clipper Cutty Sark.

To preserve the unique shape of Cutty Sark’s hull and relieve the pressure on the keel, Cutty Sark was lifted over three metres (10 feet) as part of the 2006-2012 Conservation Project.

It was no small effort to achieve this – but you’ll agree it was worth it when you walk underneath Cutty Sark and gaze upwards to find yourself dwarfed by 963 tons of beautifully conserved Victorian tea clipper.

Possibly most striking is the gleaming hull, covered in copper alloy sheathing of 70% copper and 30% zinc. If you can reach, you are welcome to touch.

Cutty Sark’s hull was innovative for its composite design, which combined wooden planks with an iron 'skeleton' of frames, beams and cross bracing. The result was a very strong, rigid ship, with more room for cargo, because the iron framework took up substantially less space than a wholly wooden hull.

Originally the hull was covered in Muntz metal, a composite that was developed in Birmingham. The current sheathing has the same appearance, but is more readily available today.