The City of Adelaide calls in to the Thames on its way to Australia

City of Adelaide at Gillingham

My thanks to River Thames Photos for this shot of the clipper ship City of Adelaide arriving at Gillingham on her historic voyage to Australia.

For many years the 1864 clipper has stood rusting on a slipway at Irvine in Scotland – a neglect that seems incredible, but after years of wrangling she’s now to be looked after on the other side of the world. I hope they make a wonderful job of it!

The Australians’ interest in the City of Adelaide is that she carried so many emigrants from the British Isles to a new life in the country in a series of 29 regular voyages. Huge numbers of Australians are said to be descended from her passengers.

National Historic Ships UK and the weblog The Liquid Highway both have more information on the ship.

Buckingham Palace has announced that before the City of Adelaide leaves, she will take part in a celebration ceremony on the 18th October at Greenwich with the Duke of Edinburgh, close by that other clipper ship, the Cutty Sark. Details of the event, which is also a renaming ceremony (from Carrick back to City of Adelaide) are here.

The Duke has long had an interest in such things – we don’t have to be great fans of royalty to think it is worth remembering that in 1951 the Cutty Sark Preservation Trust was formed by the Duke and the then-director of the National Maritime Museum, Frank Carr. Here’s a clip of him visiting the Cutty Sark in 1953.

While I’m delighted that she is to be cared for by the Australians who have so much reason to venerate her, I think we should have very mixed feelings about the whole issue. It’s obviously sad to see her leave the country that built her but I can’t help reflecting on all those years of shameful neglect here in the UK. No doubt the Duke will have a salty remark or two to make about the issue…

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The long neglected clipper ship City of Adelaide prepares to travel to Australia

 

Preparations are being made to take the oldest surviving clipper ship in the world, the City of Adelaide, to Australia, following a decision by the Scottish Government.

The Australian’s interest in the City of Adelaide is her historically important role in carrying emigrants to a new life in the country in a series of 29 regular voyages.

There have been competing attempts to keep her in the UK, including one from from Sunderland, where she was built. However, the Australian bid was identified as the winner.

The piece of steel in the photo may not look like much – but it’s part of a 100-ton A$1M cradle being assembled close to the City of Adelaide herself – she’s currently on a slipway at Irvine in Scotland, where she has stood for many years, slowly rusting away.

The cradle is to be used to transport the famous old ship to Adelaide, where it will be placed on land provided by the Australian Government. Once assembled and following technical load lifting certification, the cradle will be re-assembled under the ship in preparation for lifting and weighing – the final weight will determine which ship is to be booked to take the City of Adelaide on her last long voyage.

The task is being undertaken by two closely-connected Australian bodies working together: the Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd (CSCOAL), a volunteer-run company set up to manage the ship’s transportation to Adelaide, South Australia; and the fund-raising City of Adelaide Preservation Trust. A CSCOAL team of qualified volunteers is on-site managing the project.

A brochure describing the project is available here, and there’s an interesting Wikipedia page here.

Campaign now to save the City of Adelaide

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The clipper City Of Adelaide, later renamed HMS Carrick, and finally SV Carrick.
The hull is visible on a slipway at the Scottish Maritime museum, Irvine, North
Ayrshire, Scotland. From the Wikimedia:the original author is Rosser1954.
Click on the photo for a larger image

City of Adelaide again. Photo courtesy of Paula Palmer of
the National Historic Ships

I imagine many intheboatshed.net readers have been troubled by the condition of the passenger clipper City of Adelaide as she moulders on a hard at Ayr. The following communication from National Historic Ships director Martyn Heighton makes it clear that we now have an opportunity to make our point heard, and to make a difference. Martyn’s email is below – please do what you can to put our message across.

‘Heritage protection Bill – Latest News

Dear Supporter,

You will be aware from our website and newsletters that the government will be considering a new bill in Parliament later this year which is designed to strengthen the protection of the UK’s heritage assets. As things stand, historic vessels are not included in the bill going before Parliament. National Historic Ships has responded formally to these serious omissions, and has published our case on our website. I have also been in correspondence with Margaret Hodge, who until recently was the Minister with responsibility for Culture and have received the letter set out below from her before she left office. A copy of the Ministers letter is attached, which I urge you to read.

Although this letter contains some encouraging statements on the future of historic ships, there is still no proposal to bring these vital heritage assets into the provisions of the Bill. Our earlier response to the Draft Bill raised many valid issues which in the end focus on 3 key matters

1. The Bill does not recognise National Historic Ships, the Advisory Committee which governs it, or the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV). The Bill makes specific reference to the registers run by English Heritage and Cadw. It is crucial that the NRHV, for which National Historic Ships is accountable to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, is recognised in a similar way.
2. Historic Ships are exposed to loss by neglect and demolition, with recent high profile examples such as
City of Adelaide and HMS Stalker. Thankfully the demolition of the City of Adelaide has been slowed down due to the fact that she is one of only 2 ships to enjoy protection as listed buildings. No such protection applies to HMS Stalker and we fear she will soon be nothing more than a memory. Something needs to be done to prevent the tragic loss of more of our significant historic ships. Where vessels in the National Historic Fleet (that is the Core Collection and Designated Vessels) are presented in a static form – either dry or afloat – they should be subject to similar protections as those applied to historic buildings. It is more complicated for those vessels which operate and move from port to port, but the Bill could at least recognise the issue and pave the way for further work.
3. The Small Grants scheme which we run has had positive impact far in excess of the amount of monies disbursed. We need to find ways to expand this scheme, especially for the Registered Vessels. The Draft Bill is concerned primarily with physical protection rather than funding. Nevertheless aspects of funding are referred to in the Bill and this needs to be recognised with regard to ships. Relatively small sums can be made to go a long way.

Robert Prescott, the Chair of National Historic Ships and I are in touch with Barbara Follett, the new Minister for Culture, Media and Tourism, and are asking for an early meeting so that we can set out our concerns and ambitions for historic ships in the UK. We need to know your views on all this, and are keen to hear from you. Please go onto our website – www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk, and click onto the heritage protection bill thumbnail, read our submission in full online, and let us know what you think by email julia.bray@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

We really do want to hear from you
Warm regards
Martyn
Martyn Heighton
Director & Secretary to the Advisory Committee
National Historic Ships

For more on National Historic Ships:

http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/

For more on the City of Adelaide:

http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/index.cfm/event/getVessel/vref/433

http://www.sunderlandmaritimeheritage.org.uk/adelaide.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Carrick

For more on HMS Stalker:

http://www.maritimesteamrestorationtrust.co.uk/projects/index.html

Follow this link for more on clippers at intheboatshed.net.

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