The Mary Rose, a favourite of the English Tudor navy, sank below the seas more than 450 years ago. The remains of the ship, and a wealth of artefacts, are now on displayed in an unencumbered way in the Mary Rose Museum at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Como, a Mace subsidiary, worked to move the remains of the ship from its previous housing into a new viewing area, which provides a panoramic view of the ship.
The Mary Rose was built in 1510 and operated as part of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. The ship, which was built from 600 trees, sailed the high seas for 33 years – and fought in a number of battles – before succumbing to the French navy in 1545. Of its complement of around 500 sailors and soldiers, 35 are said to have survived. The ship sank to the bottom of the Solent, where it lay at a 60° angle on the seabed.
After 437 years at the bottom, the ship was painstakingly raised. The excavation project involved more than 27,830 dives and 22,710 hours of marine archaeology. The ship has since its excavation been undergoing conservation efforts at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. After 23 years of limited viewing of the hull, during which extensive efforts were enacted, the remains of the ship will be finally put on full unencumbered display in a specially built environment at the Mary Rose Museum.
The ship was in 2015, with the support of Mace subsidiary Como, removed from its historic ‘Hot Box' protective shell around the ship – which inhibited the view of the wreck’s full glory. During the move, the firm worked to provide environmental conditions in line with the ship’s delicate needs. Through a £4.5 million deal, funded partly through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Como installed the ship within a more permanent home. The ship is now housed to provide "panoramic views of the ship from all nine galleries".
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, says, “The story of the Mary Rose spans almost 500 years and this is a very exciting close to the latest chapter in her history. From the 20th July visitors will have stunning panoramic views of the ship from all nine galleries. This is the culmination of decades of hard work by the Mary Rose team and we can’t wait to share this stunning new experience with everyone. We would like to thank the generosity of committed friends and supporters who are passionate about the Museum and its work.”
Como Director, Darran Brand, says, “Not only was this an interesting and iconic project to work on, it was also a one-off in terms of its history and the way we worked around such a precious artefact. The team has done a great job and we will be able to take away a lot of learnings of how to preserve important objects while undertaking an extensive fit-out.”