Saturday, September 22, 2018
The Mary Rose Museum

The discovery and raising of the wreck of Henry VIII’s flag ship the Mary Rose is one of the greatest triumphs of marine archaeology.

She was launched at Portsmouth in 1510, refitted in 1536 and sunk in the Solent during July 1545. The fleet had been trapped in Portsmouth by the weather, allowing the French fleet to attack, but it was not enemy action that caused her to sink; apparently she heeled to starboard and was unable to right herself before water poured in through the open gun ports and caused havoc. Many of the crew were killed by objects on the ship which had come loose, such as guns, ammunition and stores. One of the brick ovens collapsed and a large cauldron fell onto the orlop deck. Of the crew of some 400 men, only 35 were saved.

There was, and still is, much speculation as to why she sank. The refit might have been partly responsible, making her 200 tons heavier and adding another gun deck; perhaps we shall never know. Salvage attempts were ordered only a few days after the sinking, but she was stuck in heavy clay and the equipment was not adequate, so they had no way of tunnelling under her keel. In the first attempt, only rigging and some ordinance was retrieved. Guns were salvaged and the hope of raising the entire hull was probably not abandoned until after Henry’s death. The wreck could still be seen at low tide until well into the next century.

Unfortunately, the waters of the Solent are not conducive to the preservation of timber. Pits formed around the hull. Much of the starboard side had been buried on impact. The wood was abraded by silt and sand carried by the currents, and attacked by fungus, bacteria and woodboring creatures such as shipworms. Eventually, much of the exposed structure collapsed. What remained was gradually covered in layers of sediment which levelled the site and finally sealed in much of the remaining Tudor material.

She was rediscovered in 1836 and a few more cannons and the like were brought to the surface, identifying the wreck.

It was not until 1965 that the British Sub Aqua Club took an interest in raising the wreck after a chart had been found dated 1840 marking the site of a number of wrecks. The Mary Rose had been marked as being three hundred metres south from the mouth of Portsmouth harbour, at a depth of eleven metres at low tide, and was rediscovered in 1971. Only a few dives were made in the interest of not attracting the attention of the general public as, at the time, there were no protection rights and anyone could remove what they found.

Prince Charles took an interest in the project and became its patron in 1974. In 1979, the Mary Rose Trust acquired the salvage vessel Sleipner, used as a platform for divers who had worked on the Swedish 17th-century warship Vasa in 1961. From 1979 to 1982, over 22,000 divers hours were spent on the site, amounting to 11.8 man years.

No one who watched it will ever forget the final raising of the Mary Rose from the seabed in 1982, or that final drama when the cradle slipped and it looked as if all effort had been in vain. Who could possibly forget the concerted gasp of dismay from everyone there from the Prince of Wales down? The raising of the hull was only the start of the difficulties to come. After three hundred years of submersion in the sea, and erosion from silt and predation, the wood was in urgent need of conservation. Many artefacts had survived, but long exposure to the underwater environment made most of them sensitive to exposure to the air.

Different materials needed different treatment, from being put in sealed polystyrene bags, or water tanks into which pond snails were sometimes added to destroy harmful organisms. Bone and ivory had to have the salt crystals removed. Most metal objects had to be kept in preservation solutions to stop oxidisation. All this was just to stop further deterioration until more permanent work could be carried out.

The Mary Rose Museum
Located just 400 metres from the main entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
☎+44 (0)23 9281 2931
http://www.maryrose.org

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - April 2018 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Nexus

Most Popular

  • Big Boost for Liverpool Container Services +

  • Royal Navy Commissions New Survey Ship +

  • Rolls-Royce Marine Sold to Norwegian Group +

  • Final Hurdle Overcome in COSCO Takeover +

  • One Voyage Too Many - The Last of the Bay Boats, 1957 +

  • 1
  • 2

Top 10 Books and DVDs 2017

Maritime Log

  • Spotlight on Future Port Technology +

    Port of Southampton The next generation of port technologies that will help to keep the British industry trading are being jointly developed by Read More
  • Bridge Sections Transported on Giant Barge +

    Lowestoft Barge One of the largest barges ever handled at Lowestoft was safely moved out of the port early in July on Read More
  • Tougher Penalties for Laser Misuse +

    Phil Buckley Tougher new penalties for the misuse of laser devices has been welcomed. Read More
  • Rolls-Royce Marine Sold to Norwegian Group +

    Rolls-Royce Autonomous Ship The UK-based major engineering company Rolls-Royce is selling its Commercial Marine business to the Norwegian technology group Kongsberg Gruppen ASA. Read More
  • Launch of New Ship For Antartic Work +

    The launch party Shortly after noon on July 14, the new polar research ship Sir David Attenborough was launched at the Birkenhead shipyard Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Cleaning Up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch +

    Garbage System 001 This month, a new floating clean-up system to tackle what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was due Read More
  • Panama Canal Ban on LNG Ships to Go +

    Panama Canal On Oct 1, the Panama Canal Authority will lift its daylight and encounter bans on LNG vessels to offer more Read More
  • Setting New Standards on Hawaii Service +

    Daniel K Inouye What is claimed to be the largest container ship to be built in the United States was named at a Read More
  • Wartime Wreck Checked For Oil Leak +

    Coimbra In mid-June, the US Coast Guard carried out a special survey to see if a fully-laden tanker sunk by a Read More
  • LNG-Fuel Ferry in Service +

    Spirit of British Columbia The BC Ferries’ Spirit of British Columbia returned to service on June 6 after a major mid-life upgrade which included Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Wreck of Cruiser From 1905 Battle is Located +

    Kea Trader The South Korean company Shinil Group said it has found the wreck of a Russian cruiser that was sunk 113 Read More
  • Ship Salvors Recover Debris From Reef +

    Kea Trader A new independent bathymetric survey of the wreck of the container ship Kea Trader, 24,720gt, on a reef in New Read More
  • Final Hurdle Overcome in COSCO Takeover +

    COSCO The Chinese line COSCO Shipping Holdings has been given permission from the Chinese anti-trust authorities for its proposed US$6.3bn takeover Read More
  • Giant Collier Third to Trade With Japan +

    Port Kembla The first liquefied natural gas import terminal in New South Wales, Australia, is to be built at Port Kembla by Read More
  • ONE Commitment Enters Service +

    ONE Commitment The first of the magenta-coloured container ships of the Ocean Network Express (ONE) entered service in May. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Royal Navy Commissions New Survey Ship +

    HMS Magpie British News The latest survey vessel to join the Royal Navy was commissioned into service at her homeport of Devonport Read More
  • F-35 Stealth Fighters Land in UK +

    F-35 British News The first four of Britain’s next generation F-35 Lightning supersonic fighter jets touched down in the United Kingdom Read More
  • Upgrade Planned for Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier +

    Admiral Kuznetsov Russian News Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, will be refitted to prolong the warship’s operational life. Read More
  • HMS “Astute” in Cat-And-Mouse Pursuit by Russian Ships +

    HMS Astute British News Ahead of the American led missile strikes against suspected chemical weapon manufacturing plants in Syria in early April, Read More
  • Busy Period for Japanese Navy +

    JS Asahi Japanese News It has been a particularly busy period for the Japanese with a number of new vessels being accepted Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Victoria Of Wight’s Voyage Home +

    Victoria of Wight Wightlink’s new £30million flagship Victoria of Wight sailed from the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey on 16 July for the Read More
  • Greek Ferry Sector Steps Up in Fire Tragedy +

    Paros Jet The Greek ferry sector was in the news during the wildfire tragedy that swept the coastal area near Athens during Read More
  • LNG Not the Driver for New Ferry Orders +

    Stena E-Flexer In the last issue of Sea Breezes, I wrote of the breathtaking development of Irish Sea ferry operations over the Read More
  • Condor Looks to the Future +

    Condor Clipper Condor Ferries has faced some speculation in recent months as its owner, Macquarie European Investment Fund 2, winds down and Read More
  • W.B. Yeats Further Delayed +

    W.B. Yeats The delivery of Irish Ferries’ new €144 million cruise ferry W.B. Yeats from German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has been Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Sunderland to Esbjerg Race +

    Oosterschelde On the north east coast of England, it was Sunderland’s proud claim that more ships had been built here than Read More
  • Tall Ships at Liverpool +

    Belem At the end of May, a Tall Ships fleet met at Liverpool. Read More
  • New Bridge Challenges Melissa +

    Melissa The organisers of the charter barges working from Ipswich are worried by plans to build a road bridge across the Read More
  • German Schooners +

    Thor Heyerdahl Two German schooners based at Hamburg are regularly making voyages under sail with general cargoes across the Atlantic. Read More
  • RFA Pearleaf +

    RFA Pearleaf Thanks to Orkney Image Library for this view of the RFA Pearleaf. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Edinburgh Named Top Cruise Destination for 2018 +

    Balmoral In my ‘Message From the Bridge’ in August’s edition of Sea Breezes, I mentioned the burgeoning cruise market in the Read More
  • Naming Ceremony for Forth Tug and Pilot Boat +

    Forth Puma and Craigleith In my Message From The Bridge in the August edition of Sea Breezes I highlighted the Firth of Forth. Read More
  • SMS Avonmouth Relocates to Bigger Premises +

    City of Cardiff In my long-ago deep sea days with Blue Funnel, Avonmouth was an occasional port of call before heading to our Read More
  • Big Boost for Liverpool Container Services +

    Port of Liverpool More positive news from Peel Ports Group. Read More
  • Kerne Preservation Receives Queens Award for Voluntary Service +

    Steam Tug Kerne I was delighted to hear that in the Queen’s Honours List, published at the beginning of June 2018, the Merseyside Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Turnkey Explorer Yacht +

    Explorer 67 An exciting opportunity for an owner looking to build one of the finest explorer yacht projects available has presented itself. Read More
  • Great Perseverance +

    Meira Behind the construction of every great yacht there is a story and in the building of Meira, it is one Read More
  • Keel Laid for Hapag-Lloyd’s First Expedition Cruise Ship +

    Hanseatic Inspiration A keel-laying ceremony was held on June 20 2017 for Hanseatic Nature, the first of two expedition cruise ships being Read More
  • Superyacht Season - Cannes +

    Numarine 26 XP Loved and hated in equal measure by those who exhibit at the Cannes Yachting Festival, as it is correctly known, Read More
  • Superyacht Season - Southampton +

    Targa 43 OPEN The season begins with Southampton, now celebrating its 50th year which, following the demise of the London Boat Show becomes Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Largs Bay

One Voyage Too Many - The Last of the Bay Boats, 1957

Largs Bay, a twin screw turbine steamer of some 14,000 grt, had a long rather complicated history after being built Read More
Galeb

"Galeb" - From Banana Boat to Presidential Yacht

One day in October 2017, I sat at an outside table at a restaurant on the fringe of the harbour Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Peter Crawford

Peter’s “Scillonian” Life on the Ocean Wave

Peter Crawford, is relief captain and first mate of the MV Scillonian, the sturdy little ship which is an essential Read More
HMS Lincoln

HMS Lincoln and Her Unusual Defensive Weapon

A “run ashore” the night before going to sea the following day is very much part of a seafarer’s life. Read More
  • 1
  • 2