Yesterday's picture was from the Cutty Sark which it is fair to say has proved a controversial restoration, with one critic calling it a grade A turkey.
Having a spare Sunday I took the tube from Putney to Greenwich to make up my own mind, and found myself conflicted between delight and a hollow emptiness.
On the plus side there is much to enjoy, from the rigging gracing the sky, the blocks and spars wired up with ropes as they should be. The space under the hull is a amazing, full of light, the old tea clipper glowing in gold. The much debated main deck (composites not real wood) doesn't distract from the overall look.
But... it felt wrong.
The old, real Cutty Sark didn't have a lift forcing its way between decks. It didn't have a visitors trail leading you between exhibits, it didn't have fake tea chests, it didn't have sailing computer games, it didn't have a whopping great hole cut into its side:
But was that an option? Things were in a bad way before the fire, as can be seen by this unrestored beam:
There is that philosophical question if you replace something bit by bit at what point it is no longer the original, and that could have been a choice for the Cutty Sark. However that option still remains as someone out there could build their own tea clipper, using her as the design template.
While saddened by what she has become I feel that her current form has a chance to survive for future generations, who can then decide what they want to do with her. There is the question about whether raising the hull is the right solution structurally but I am not qualified to judge, though I understood there was a steel shell holding everything together taking the load.
The Cutty Sark does look good, and it is a great day out for families, which means more people will see her, learn about her and be impressed, being less conscious of the lack of sailability. She is part of Britain's maritime history, part of the National Maritime Museum.
The Cutty Sark is dead. Long live the Cutty Sark.