All Over Dressed


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2019 will see the Cutty Sark celebrate her 150th Birthday. Traditionally, during periods of celebration, ships are dressed overall by stringing international signal flags from masthead to masthead as a form of decoration. Following this tradition the Cutty Sark have commissioned a series of new signal flags to dress the ship in her 150th year.

What is it?

The All Over Dressed project took place between October 2018 and January 2019 with 40 new flags designed to dress the ship. Working with artists from artist collective Our Cube, five local school and community groups have explored the rich history of the ship and her stories, with each group taking a different voyage of discovery.  

Who is involved?

The Tower Project is a community based organisation for children and adults with learning and sensory disabilities. Working closely with the artists, adult participants were inspired by the ship's journeys to China and Australia for tea and wool. Using Captain Woodget's photographs of icebergs and maps of the ship's trade routes for inspiration, the group have created a unique set of textile responses.

Pupils from Linton Mead and Hawksmoor Primary Schools explored the Robert Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter, that gave the Cutty Sark her name, retelling the poem in their own words and imagery.

Students from St Ursula's Covent Secondary School looked into the alternative cargoes that the Cutty Sark carried from books to matches, toys to coal and shoes to cocoa beans. Using traditional signal flag layouts they have re-interpreted them to create contemporary graphic representations.

Participants from Age UK Charlton engaged with their own maritime memories of Greenwich and the Cutty Sark, and explored materials she is made of that enabled her to be one of the fastest ships in the world.

Newhaven Pupil Referral Unit pupils focused on life on board. Embracing the art of stitch, like many sailors before them, the group have recorded in embroidery their observations from the stories they heard.

Our Cube are a collective who aim to support participants in their journeys into cultural spaces by encouraging dialogue, investigation and exploration in order to develop the skills and confidence to take ownership of public cultural spaces and foster a sense of belonging. The artists involved were Harriet Mena Hill, Marie Thérèse Ross, Al Johnson, Hannah Cushion and storyteller Olivia Armstrong.

How can I see the flags?

Visit the Cutty Sark in 2019 to see our new flags suspended between her masts and join us for a host of events to celebrate her 150th year.

Visit the Cutty Sark