She was the very last merchant clipper ever to be built
She was destined for the tea trade, then an intensely competitive race across the world from China to London, encouraged with a substantial bonus to the ship to arrive with the first tea of the year. In the end , clippers lost out to the all new steamships, which would pass through the Suez Canal, that opened in November 1869. These Steamships would deliver the goods more reliably even if not so quickly, which proved to be better for business.
The Cutty Sark was then used on the Australian wool trade. Under captain R Woodget she did very well, she was posting Australia-to-Britain times of as little as 67 days and is said to have been the fastest ship of her size
In 1895 she was sold to a the Portuguese firm Ferreira and was renamed Ferreira after the firm. In 1916 she was dismasted off the Cape of Good Hope. She was the resold and re-rigged in Cape Town as a barquentine and renamed Maria Do Amparo. In 1922 she was bought by Captain Wilfred Dowman who restored her to her original appearance and used as a stationary training ship in Greenhithe Kent. In 1954 she was moved to a custom built dry dock at Greenwich London and put on public display
The Cutty Sark remained a museum ship at Greenwich, but on the 21st may 2007 while undergoing extensive restoration and conservation work she was badly damaged by fire
In 2012 she was finally restored and reopened to the public