Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London

Project: Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London

The Cutty Sark Gardens, situated in historic Greenwich, were redeveloped to provide a versatile public space which can be used for special events and also accommodate the large numbers of visitors to the Cutty Sark ship. The Cutty Sark itself, based in a dry dock at the centre of the gardens, is the only surviving tea clipper in the world and has undergone extensive restoration work following its damage by fire in 2007. Work on this historic vessel was completed in April 2012 when it was officially re-opened by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Cutty Sark Gardens is a landscaped area overlooking the river Thames. An impressive ‘tidal square’ forms part of the gardens and links them with their maritime setting. This provides a wet floor pool where children can play and makes the gardens more intimate during quieter times of the day when there are less people in the area. When required, the water can be removed from the square to form a greater paved area to accommodate increased pedestrian traffic or to host a special event.

ACO Scope of supply

This project sees the first installation of ACO Qmax with Q-Slot edge rails which was used within the terraces and pedestrian areas of the tidal square. As the area is visually sensitive, the 10mm inlet edge rail was installed within the natural breaks between the granite paviours, forming a virtually invisible solution. The narrow inlets for this system not only create an aesthetically pleasing, unbroken landscape in the area, they also provide a practical solution for heavy pedestrian traffic with no large gaps where heels can be caught. The edge rails are integral to the drainage system and, as such, are not vulnerable to damage, loss or theft. ACO Qmax is a versatile, high capacity slot drainage system which is manufactured from lightweight, recycled material: which means it not only fits with the site design but also provides an efficient and environmentally friendly drainage solution.

ACO MultiDrain MD channel drainage system was utilised around the perimeter of the famous Cutty Sark vessel and along the frontage of the café area in the gardens. This product is ideal for accommodating the heavy pedestrian traffic around the ship and also suitable for vehicular traffic requiring access to the café. It offers a traditional, aesthetically pleasing finish which is fitting for this prestigious site while providing highly efficient removal of surface water.

Improvements to the Greenwich area

The Cutty Sark Gardens project is one of the Mayor of London’s “Great Spaces”, an initiative for London boroughs to improve the quality of their public spaces. The Mayor talks of public space as being “the glue that holds a city together” and the improvements to this site optimises pedestrian access and connections between Greenwich town centre, the River Thames, Greenwich university campus, Dockland Light Rail Station and the Old Royal Naval College, which sits alongside the gardens. The gardens provide an attractive setting for the Cutty Sark ship at this Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The discrete ACO products help to preserve the traditional landscape of this busy area.