The Cutty Sark was built in 1869. Now in dry dock in Greenwich, she is the world's sole surviving extreme tea clipper.
The most famous China Tea Race took place in 1866; after ninety-nine days at sea the two clippers arrived in London Dock only twenty minutes apart. Cutty Sark never won the Tea Race but a similar dash was established to bring the new season of Australian wool to London and the Cutty Sark broke the wool record every year from 1885 to 1895.
Did you know...?
• From 1838 to 1912, The Thames Ironworks operating from Bow Creek was the most important ship builders on the river and east London's biggest employers. By 1880, over half the world's steamships were British-built and many originated from the yards at Thames Ironworks.
• But after that, the industry went into decline. Shipping companies wanted bigger and bigger ships and the Thames was neither deep enough nor wide enough to construct and service these new vessels. Coal and iron were more expensive in London, as were wages.
Have you heard...?
When the Thames Barrier opened in 1984 it was the world's largest navigable flood barrier. Its design is ingenious. It had to be constructed in such a way as to allow ocean-going vessels to pass through it, yet also be an effective defense against surging tides.
The structure can be appreciated best from Thames Barrier Park, on the north bank, where the landscaping was done by a French team and has a distinct resemblance to the Parc Citröen on the banks of the River Seine in Paris.
Discover great places to visit between West India Docks to Silvertown