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The Mary Rose was a warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent.

King Henry VIII watched his beloved warship sink as he watched the battle unfold from Southsea Castle on the mainland of Portsmouth city.

The Mary Rose was salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust, and today stands in a purpose built £27million museum inside ‘Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’. 

The external envelope of the new museum, the construction of which was led by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Pringle Branson, was built around the ship at as minimal a volume as possible. Its curvilinear geometry was derived from the dry dock it protects, and its low elegant form reflects its historic context.

The restoration team led by Wilkinson Eyre Architects (architect) and Pringle Brandon (interior design) was built around the hull of the ship.  The building takes the form of a finely crafted wooden ‘jewellery box’ with the hull at its centre and galleries running the length of the ship, each at a level corresponding to a deck level on the ship. Artefacts are displayed in such a way to provide visitors with an insight into what these decks would have looked like moments before the ship sank.

The museum contain’s one of the largest environmentally controlled display cases in the world containing the mirror image of the starboard side of the hull. The new, state of art building uses 8000 metres of copper piping, 15,000 metres of steel, 400,000 metres of electric cabling and 2,835 red cedar planks.

Explorations are made into how the Mary Rose was utilised by Mary VIII, the final battle with the French fleet which sunk the ship on 19th July 1545, the men who occupied each level of the Mary Rose, and the science which went into her raising, restoration, and conservation. Interactive displays are strewn throughout the museum, proving entertaining and informative for all ages, and visitors will have the chance to gain a spectacular view of the conserved hull of the ship from a viewing lift.

Visitors can book for the Mary Rose Museum on-line via the Historic Dockyards website.