Yesterday, we went to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark. It was one of the last tea clippers to be built in 1869 and one of the faster.
The word "clipper" comes from an old American expression "to go at a clip", meaning to go quickly.
The ship did the trip to Asia in almost 70 days, which was a record for this period. It contained 10.000 tea boxes, which represented almost 200 million of cups of tea.
All in all, the trip was about 105 days to Asia, 25 days to filled the boat and 110 days, to returned to London : 240 days of travel, so 8 months of a year.
The Cutty Sark mainly imported black and green teas from India, China and Japan.
The Cutty Sark was not only for the tea trade between China to London, it was also a ship which did the wool trade with Australia.
Nevertheless, at the same time the competition with the Suez Canal road was really hard because it shorten the travel of trade with Asia and Oceania.
The last Cutty Sark's trip was in 1895. After that it was sold to a Portuguese company and renamed : Ferreira. Until 1922, it was used as a cargo boat. It was bought in 1922 and used as a training ship by Wilfred Dowman. In 1954, it had ceased to be useful and it was transferred to permanent dry dock in Greenwich.
Nowadays, The Cutty Sark is listed as a Royal Museum and it's one of the only three remaining original composite construction clipper ships from the 19th century.