This guide looks at sources for research into Cutty Sark available in the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum.

More information about the ship and the collections of the Cutty Sark Trust can be found here:

Lloyd’s Survey Report for Cutty Sark

If you are interested in the construction of the tea clipper, you might like to examine the Lloyd’s Survey Report for Cutty Sark.

Undertaken at Glasgow, Lloyd’s Survey Report GLS 3077 of February 1869 was a survey of the materials and the soundness of construction of the ship, somewhat like the MOT certificate of your car. The Report was in turn used to assess the degree of risk for insurance purposes. The Report contains details of the materials and construction, telling us the ship was a ‘composite’ vessel, made of elm, teak and pine, together with angle, bulb and iron plates. The quality of the workmanship is given as ‘good’ and the ship was classified as ‘A1’. The classification ‘A’ only applied to new or well-maintained vessels, as the Lloyd’s Register explained: ‘The Characters of ships A will be struck out of the Register, unless re-surveyed within a period of four years’. To qualify as A1, ‘the whole of the timber must be of good quality, be properly seasoned’ and ‘the workmanship to be well-executed’. The rules of classification were very strict and warned ‘defects in workmanship or quality of timber will involve a reduction in class’.

Please email if you would like to view the Survey Report for the Cutty Sark in the Caird Library or would like more information about Lloyd’s Survey Reports in general.

Crew Lists and Official Logs

The Museum holds what are believed to be all the surviving crew lists for Cutty Sark for the period 1870-95. These can all be searched to see if your ancestor did indeed serve aboard this famous ship.




Crew lists 1870-95


Logs 1870-1874


Crew List 1870


Crew List 1885


Crew List 1892

Using the catalogue reference given in the table above, any of these crew lists or logs can be requested for viewing in the Caird Library, using the online Archive catalogue.

You can register as a reader using Aeon, the Library’s online ordering system

Masters of Cutty Sark

The Museum has a large collection of Masters and Mates certificates spanning the period 1845-1927. Akin to a maritime HGV licence, but with responsibility for the lives of the crew as well as the vessel and cargo, a Master’s certificate was the Board of Trade qualification for employment as captain of a merchant vessel upon the world’s sea lanes. The Museum holds the office copies of these records and they are very popular with family historians. Certificates are usually accompanied by the application to sit the exam. The prospective Master’s name, date and place of birth, and a list of all the ships he had served on were filled in. During her time in British ownership, the Cutty Sark had six different Masters and the Caird Library holds the office copies of all of their certificates. It was these documents that helped all six of her Masters get the job. So if you’ve ever wondered how George Moodie got the job or would like to know how well qualified Richard Woodget really was, these official records will offer more than a clue.


Name of Master

Certificate No.

Dates of command of Cutty Sark

George Moodie


1870 - 1872

Francis W. Moore


1872 - 3

William Tiptaft


1873 - 1877

James Wallace


1880 - 1882

William Bruce



Frederick Moore


1882 - 1885

R Woodget


1885 - 1895

Using the certificate number given in the table above, any of these certificates can be requested for viewing in the Caird Library by filing in the form

Don’t forget to register as a Library Reader first. You can register as a reader using Aeon, the Library’s online ordering system.

The Museum’s collection of Masters’ Certificates has been digitised by images can be viewed and copies purchased on the Ancestry website.

Further Manuscript material on Cutty Sark:

AML/F/2 Discharge certificate for Mate Harry Upjohn, signed by F Moore, Master of Cutty Sark, 1883

AML/R/4/1 and 2 Receipts and accounts for the Cutty Sark, 1872-3

AML/S/7 Log kept by Richard Woodget, Cutty Sark, 1889 and 1892

AML/Z/5 Letter of Scott and Linton, (builders of the Cutty Sark) applying for bankruptcy, 21 July 1870; tonnage dues certificate, 25 September 1874; Shanghai; manifest, Brisbane, 29 December 1894.

LUB/1: Logbooks for HMS Galatea, Superb, Halloween, The Tweed, Corunna, Patriach, Thermopylae and the Cutty Sark.

LUB/16: Copy of abstract log of the Cutty Sark, February 1882 - March 1895

LUB/17: Copy of the logbook of the Cutty Sark, May 1882 - February 1883

LUB/39/8 Copy of logbook, notes and pictures of Cutty Sark, 1870-94

SCC/1 Scott, William Dundas (Shipbuilder) letters received by Scott between 1868 and 1870 including a letter from Hercules Linton, 1877.

Using the references given above, any of these items can be requested for viewing in the Caird Library, using the online Archive catalogue available, but don’t forget to register as a Library Reader first. You can register as a reader using Aeon, the Library’s online ordering system.

Guide to books in the Caird Library on Cutty Sark

The Caird Library holds a number of books specifically about Cutty Sark. This guide gives a brief summary of the information in each one. They can all be found in the online Library catalogue.

At sea in the days of sail:

Bailey, S. F. The Crews of the Cutty Sark. London: Cutty Sark Society, 1989. PBA4870
This book lists all the men who were officially engaged on the ship between 1870 and July 1895 while it sailed under the British flag. Cutty Sark undertook 25 voyages in that time before it was sold to a Portuguese company. The book lists crew member’s rating, rate of pay, as well as when and where they joined or left the ship. It has extensive details on the crew, including desertion statistics and a number of reproduced crew lists, and a list of all the voyages.

Lubbock, Basil. The Log of the Cutty Sark: with Illustrations and Plans. Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1945 PBE7331
This book includes excerpts from the logs of Captain Moodie and Captain Woodget, and some first-hand accounts from others who sailed on her. It also contains detailed plans for the ship – sail plans, mid ship sections, cabin plans and detailed information on various cargoes she carried. It compares her with her contemporaries, and summarises the ship’s voyages under the Red Ensign 1870-95. This book focuses on the vessel’s career in British ownership, but contains a small section at the end on life under the Portuguese flag.

Carr, Frank G. G. The Cutty Sark and the Days of Sail. London: Pitkin, 1960. PBB7097
This pamphlet describes what daily life would have been like on Cutty Sark while it was under sail, as well as accounts of some of the voyages. It includes photos of some of the sailors and captains, and of the ship itself.

Richardson, John. Cutty Sark/Ferreira. Amesbury: Richardson Publishing, 2007. PBH4759
This book is one of the few which focuses on the ship after it was sold to a Portuguese shipping company and renamed Ferreira, specifically an incident in 1916 in which it was partially demasted and the subsequent repairs which took place. It has a number of excellent drawings and photographs of the ship at various stages of its working life.

Conservation and restoration:

Cutty Sark Trust. Cutty Sark Conservation Plan. London: Cutty Sark Trust, 2004. PBF4847
This book discusses the significance of the Cutty Sark as a historical ship, as a training vessel for the Merchant Navy, and as a symbol of British seafaring culture and identity. It also shows details of the ships structure and fabric, illustrating different repair and restoration projects, which are colour coded for ease. It was prepared to support the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the 2006-2012 Conservation Project.

Carr, Frank G. G. The Restoration of the Cutty Sark. 1966. PBD7839
This short pamphlet is an account of the ship’s building history, preservation project in the 1950s and its installation in Greenwich, including many photos and drawings.

Design and specifications of a tea clipper:

Longridge, C. Nepean. Cutty Sark: the last of the famous tea clippers. London: Percival Marshall, 1933. (2 Volumes) PBB2502/1 and PBB2502/2
This book is written with ship modellers in mind, and includes three scale plans in each volume, with extensive details of the dimensions, hull, fixings and riggings of Cutty Sark.

Hackney, N C L. Cutty Sark. London: Patrick Stephens, 1974.
086.5:629.123CUTTY SARK
This book begins with three chapters on her history, and then focuses on her specifications and instructions for building a model of the ship.Biographies

Ward, Hugh. Captain Moodie and the Cutty Sark. Wemyss: Wemyss Environmental Education Centre, 1991. PBP0486
A short biography of Captain Moodie, and an account of his journeys with a few photographs.

Brettle, Robert E. The Cutty Sark, her designer and builder, Hercules Linton 1836-1900: a biographical memoir. Cambridge: W Heffer, 1969.PBE4953
A biography of Linton, written by the husband of Hercules Linton’s grand-daughter.


Bailey, S F. Cutty Sark Figureheads. Shepperton: Ian Allan, 1992. PBP0934
This is a short history of the Long John Silver Collection, with details on each of the figureheads and a mixture of black and white as well as more recent colour photographs.

The Cutty Sark, the China Tea Trade and other clipper ships:

Villiers, Alan. The Cutty Sark – Last of a Glorious Era. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1953. PBC2413
This book gives a general overview of the history of Cutty Sark and the era of sail, particularly the China tea trade and the clipper ships involved in it. It also gives information on the owner John Willis and his other ships. It is written in a somewhat romantic style, but contains much interesting and useful information nonetheless.

Baker, William F. Running her Easting Down: a documentary of the development of the British tea clippers culminating with the building of the Cutty Sark. Caldwell (Idaho): Caxton Printers, 1974. PBB3717

Hume, Cyril L. The Cutty Sark and Thermopylae: era of Sail. Glasow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1987. PBA3312

Campbell, George F. China Tea Clippers. London: Adlard Coles, 1974. PBB0875

Whipple, A B C. The Clipper Ship. London: Collins, 1973. PBN4730

MacGregor, David R. The tea clippers: their history and developedment 1833-1875. London: Conway Maritime, 1983. PBN7693

MacGregor, David R. The tea clippers: an account of the China tea trade and of some British sailing ships engaged in it from 1849 to 1869. London: Percival Marshall, 1952. PBE7424

The Library also has a number of pamphlets, which are a useful source of photographs, sketches and other images.

McIlwain, John. Cutty Sark. Andover, Hants: Pitkin Guides Ltd, 1997. PBF3582
A short history of the ship, with many colourful images and diagrams, as well as some modern photographs.

Carr, Frank G. G. The Story of the Cutty Sark. London: Pitkin Pictorials, 1969. PBD1663
This short pamphlet contains just some basic facts, and a good selection of photographs

Cutty Sark Society. Cutty Sark: a brief description of the ship, her voyages and how she came to Greenwich. Greenwich: Cutty Sark Society, 1957.
This is a short history of Cutty Sark which was produced for the re-opening in Greenwich, however it lacks any photographs.

Using the online Library catalogue, any of these items can be requested for viewing in the Caird Library, but don’t forget to register as a Library Reader first. You can register as a reader using Aeon, the Library’s online ordering system.