Duke of Edinburgh visits Cutty Sark carcass

The smell of charred planking greeted the Duke of Edinburgh as he stepped out of a chauffeur-driven car alongside the rusting carcass of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich last night. ‘It’s a bloody shame,’ he declared as he looked at the bare iron frames and the black, charred remains of three decks: now all lying as black ash in the ship’s bilge.

Both Dick Durham and Graham Snook were among a handful of selected pressmen to be allowed into the site as forensic experts began examining the remains of the clipper as enquiries continue by police, who are treating the fire as suspicious.

Sixty per cent of the ship’s planking, the masts, the coach houses, had been removed before the fire as part of a conservation project.

The prince, who helped form the Cutty Sark Society in 1951, accompanied the Queen when she opened the ship to the public in 1957 and last visited the attraction a year ago.

The trust has raised £18m towards a £25m restoration of the famous tea clipper, which was due to reopen to the public in November 2009. However, the restoration costs will increase substantially following the blaze. Yachting Monthly has joined the Cutty Sark Trust as a media partner to help raise funds to restore her to her former glory.To help raise funds see www.cuttysark.org.uk