Mary Rose Museum

Mary Rose Museum

This significant and important piece of history – the only 16th Century warship together with the largest collection of Tudor artefacts in the world – is now in display in a new museum designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, with Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will as architect for the interior.

In 1545 the Mary Rose, the cherished flagship of Henry VIII, keeled over and sank in Portsmouth harbour while harrying the French navy in the Battle of the Solent. The ship lay on the bed of the Solent, undiscovered for over 400 years.

When it was raised in 1982, it proved to be an archaeological sensation; the hull and the contents of the ship – almost 22,000 well-preserved items of Tudor life ranging from shoes, pocket watches, medical apparatus and musical instruments – had been almost miraculously preserved, buried in clay on the seabed beneath preserving layers of silt.

This significant and important piece of history – the only 16th century warship together with the largest collection of Tudor artefacts in the world – is now in display in a new museum designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, with Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will as architect for the interior.

Its home, set in an elliptical 18th century dry dock, is in Portsmouth, in the historic Royal Navy Dockyard alongside other magnificent warships and next to Nelson’s HMS Victory. The raising of the Mary Rose had presented some pressing problems of how to preserve these artefacts while presenting them to the public. The remains of the ship and its contents are vulnerable and required delicate conservation, yet are the subjects of intense curiosity; they had to be both protected and exhibited. The architect had to address conservation requirements, formulate a strategy for displaying the ship and its contents, and organise spaces and circulation routes.

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