Carrick could be saved as an upside-down leisure centre

12:20am Friday 27th July 2007

By STEWART PATERSON

A last-gasp bid to save the Carrick clipper from being broken up has been launched by a team of marine engineers from the Cutty Sark restoration team.

The historic 143-year-old ship, which was berthed in Glasgow for 45 years, is to be dismantled, with a timetable for the destruction expected to be set on Monday.

Now, marine engineering firms Beckett Rankine and Buro Happold want to salvage the rotting hulk from its slipway at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine and transform it into an eye-catching four-storey building, as a centrepiece for a riverside development, by turning it upside down.

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The "upside-down boat building" could be used as a leisure, business or entertainment venue.

Following a report in The Herald in May that the ship was to be broken up, the engineers started to develop a proposal to save the ship from being dismantled completely.

Last week, it was revealed that a group from Sunderland also want to save the Carrick, and take it back to where it was built.

Tim Beckett, of Beckett Rankine, said: "We have submitted the proposal to the City of Adelaide Steering Group with a request that it be included as an agenda item at their next meeting on Monday.

"Our next task is to find a developer with a suitable site who would be willing to take on the project. We are already pursuing a couple of possibilities but time is tight if we are to avoid the ship being dismantled."

Using a full-size seagoing ship as an upside-down building is not believed to have been done before, but the engineers believe it is the most cost-effective and feasible idea to salvage the ship.

The proposal is estimated to cost less than the £10m believed necessary to restore it.

A group from Sunderland, where the ship, also known as the City of Adelaide, was built, visited the ship earlier this month and have been lobbying to save it.

Glasgow has been identified as one of six possible locations for the upside-down ship along with Adelaide in Australia and four sites in England.

The City Docks Regeneration Project on the south bank of the river to the west of the Science Centre is the preferred choice for the project.

The report City of Adelaide: A Proposal for Her Reuse says: "While the principle of reusing vessels as buildings is not new, it has not, as far as we can discover, ever been done with a full-sized sailing ship.

"A fishing boat makes a relatively small single-storey building suitable for a hut or workshop, while the City of Adelaide will be a very much larger and more impressive building. She will provide three or possibly four levels of accommodation.

"This highly unusual but attractive space could be suitable for many uses such as an art gallery, conference centre, museum, restaurant, theatre or similar functions which do not require much natural light."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "We will consider any proposal to develop the waterfront on its merits, and that would apply in this case."

No-one from the Scottish Maritime Museum was available for comment.

The Carrick has been a sad sight, rotting at the museum in Irvine since it was moved from the Clyde in Glasgow, where it sank in 1992. The clipper was built in 1864.

Deconstruction is still considered the likely option for the Carrick, but it is understood other options will be looked at if proposed.

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