Blink and you’ll miss it, but a new artists’ impression of what a restored Cutty Sark should look like in 2012 has appeared on its website (or had done, it crashed while I was preparing this post). It’s slightly different from the last image, which appeared on the front of council puff sheet Greenwich Time in February after its restoration had finally been confirmed, indicating that the glass “bubble” structure which will surround the base of the ship, helping it become a hospitality venue, has been refined slightly.
Despite the fact that work is obviously progressing on the ship, I still can’t help feeling it’s more a case of “if” rather than “when” the Cutty Sark reemerges from the fire and restoration process. Maybe it’s the fact that the PR operation on the ship’s restoration has frankly been crap, with little attempt to bring locals onside in all this. (My free advice for their PR team: “Butter up the Greenwich Phantom.”) With Greenwich town centre looking like a building site at the moment, we need to cling on any hope we can get that it’ll all be worth it.
The sense of farce around Greenwich town centre and the area around the Cutty Sark is heightened by a notice still lingering in the foot tunnel entrance detailing the restoration of Cutty Sark Gardens. No, not the plans the council submitted last month, but the last refurb, completed in May 1999 as a millennium project, replacing what was admittedly a hideous grey space. Hopefully the Greenwich which emerges from scaffolding in 2012 will be fit to last longer than that little scheme did.