News image © Gareth Gardner
It has been a long road for Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, the only sixteenth century warship on display anywhere in the world, but it finally has a new £27m home as the centrepiece of the UK’s Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
The famous Tudor warship will now finally be able to reveal all of her secrets to the paying public 500 years after she sank. John Lippiett, CEO, Mary Rose Trust, has called it a fitting tribute to the “World’s largest maritime investigation.”
The ship is now housed in what has been described a giant air lock time capsule, or a finely crafted wooden jewellery box, right over the ancient tudor dock site where it was originally built.
For the first time, the ship has been reunited with what is the most comprehensive collection of Tudor artefacts ever discovered, including longbows, 200 tonne cannons, musical instruments, 500 year old nit combs and two ex crew members –a ship’s archer and Hatch, the ship’s dog.
In the new museum, visitors can take a walk through the ship on all three decks. At each level, visitors can walk along the museum’s gallery which runs adjacent to the hull and look at the artefacts which have put back in mirror image of where they would have been housed on the ship.
The ship will now be conserved in a “hotbox” during its final phase of preservation where carefully directed hot air will slowly dry the ship out. When this is completed in 4 to 5 years time, the inner walls separating the hull from the gallery will be removed, further enhancing the connection between the hull and the artefacts.
The Museum is open for business from 31 May and tickets for a specific visiting slot can be bought online.
The venue is also available for private hire and it will also continue its duties as an educational facility for schools with a new classroom attached.
The Mary Rose sank in 1545 during a stand-off with the French in the Channel. The vessel was thought to have been overloaded when it sank killing most of its crew of 500 – only 35 survived.
More information: www.historicdockyard.co.uk
Photo left: Lower deck. Credit: © Hufton + Crow
Photo right: Main deck cannons. Credit: Mary Rose Trust