Dr Eric Kentley, curatorial consultant for the Cutty Sark Trust, told TTJ that some 250 of the hull’s 490 timber planks had already been removed as part of restoration work. prior to the fire, which is being treated as suspicious by police.

He said teak and maple panelling from the master’s cabin was also in safe storage.

Mr Kentley said the fire damage was concentrated on the upper part of the ship. “It looks like we’ve lost the main deck entirely and the ‘tween deck.”

The main deck was originally Indian teak but the later decking destroyed in the blaze was thin teak planks on top of plywood and softwood,

“We were planning to put a new deck in and we had already bought the recycled teak,” said Mr Kentley.

The deck destroyed below was pitch pine and dated from the 1920s.

Mr Kentley said some of the teak hull planking was charred but rock elm at the bottom did not seem to be badly affected. Hull planking had been removed in preparation for electrolysis treatment of the ship’s iron frame.

Two years ago the Cutty Sark Trust invited companies in the timber industry to form partnership with the trust to help with the ship’s £25m restoration.