Friday, 29 July 2016

Mary Rose re-opens; a unique Tudor time capsule

AFTER a six month closure and a multi-million pound investment, the Mary Rose has been re-opened to the public, 471 years after its sinking in 1545. The Mary Rose Trust at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has unveiled never before seen views of Henry VIII’s favourite warship after having undergone 34 years of extensive treatment and conservation.

 Visitors can breathe the same air as the Mary Rose, taking in panoramic sights of the ship from nine galleries through floor-to-ceiling glazing on the lower and main decks.

Lying beside HMS Victory, the Mary Rose adds more insights into England’s naval history.  

Dr Alex Hildred, head of Research and Curator of Ordnance at the Mary Rose Trust, says: ‘When we excavated the Mary Rose, we wanted people to see even a little of what we, as archaeologists, saw and experienced underwater. The fact that you can see it from three different angles that you’ve never been able to see before, except for when she first came up, is brilliant. With the lights on her, she begins to look like parts of the ship we saw underwater.’

A unique Tudor time capsule, the Mary Rose has been undergoing continuous conservation since she was raised from the Solent in 1982. The latest conservation project will see visitors enter the Weston Ship Hall on the Upper Deck via an airlock, separated from the ship only by a glass balcony. 

The story of the Mary Rose in numbers:

  • 1510 – the year the Mary Rose was built 
  • 600 trees were used to build her 
  • 1545 – the year the Mary Rose was sunk, on July 19 during the 3rd French War 
  • 500 men on board, only 35 survived 
  • 5 foot 7 inches was the average height of a crew member
  • The Mary Rose sank to the bottom of the Solent, lying on the seabed at a 60 degree angle 
  • 1971 – the year the Mary Rose site was discovered and excavation begun 
  • 27,831 dives made to the Mary Rose during the modern excavation project 
  • 22,710 hours of marine archaeological excavation of the seabed 
  • 437 years the Mary Rose spent underwater 
  • 1982 – the year the Mary Rose was raised from the seabed 
  • 19,000 artefacts have been recovered from the site so far including 6,600 arrow bits, nine barrels containing bones of fully-grown cattle, and one full skeleton of a dog aged between 18 months and two years. 
  • 9 million – the number of visitors to the Mary Rose since she was first displayed in 1983 

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s annual All Attraction Ticket (£26.40 for adults, £18.40 for children, and £23 for seniors) includes entry to the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS Victory, HMS M.33, the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth and Action Stations. Also included is admission to off-site attractions, including the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower (Gosport), the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, HMS Alliance (Gosport), and the Royal Marines Museum (Eastney), plus a complimentary waterbus to the Gosport attractions and a 45-minute harbour tour.

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