Happy 150th birthday to the Cutty Sark, Britain’s 19th-century speedster

As far as milestones go, 150 is something of an awkward character. It lacks the simple double-zeroed magnificence of 100, nor is it as large as 200. But it has a nought-ended roundedness, and a weight to it, all the same.

It is also a relevant figure today – as the number of candles on the birthday cake laid at the feet of the Cutty Sark. Can a ship blow out a century-and-a-half of tubular wax? Does a ship have feet? No and no. But that isn’t really the point. The pertinent facts are that one of Britain’s most famous sea-going vessels turns 150 today, having been launched on November 22 1869, and that this is an anniversary well worth celebrating.

How? Well, this being a travel section – by visiting some of the sites and museums tethered to the story of a tea clipper that was, for a time, the fastest ship on the planet.



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