A fire ripped through London's historic Cutty Sark early this morning, nearly destroying the 138-year-old tea clipper. But an ongoing £25 million restoration saved the ship, which has drawn 15 million tourists to its south-east London dock since it opened in 1957. Much of its structural foundation, including its original masts and half its planks, had been removed before the blaze broke out.
The Cutty Sark—the only tea clipper that survives to this day—sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to Shanghai on its maiden voyage in 1870, and trained World War II naval cadets before being retired in 1951. The cause of the blaze remains unknown, but police are investigating whether arson may have been involved.