THE Mary Rose Museum has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area and helped boost the economy.
That’s the view from city leaders as it celebrates its first birthday today.
It was 12 months ago that crowds first began queuing up outside the museum – and they haven’t stopped all year, with visitor figures to the historic dockyard almost doubling.
Since opening, 470,000 people have visited the museum, with 720,000 visiting the historic dockyard – up from 384,000 the previous year.
Rear Admiral John Lippiett is the chief executive of The Mary Rose Trust.
He said: ‘It’s been hugely successful. It’s almost been a tsunami of visitors coming back time and time again.
‘It’s staggering. The publicity campaign and the interest worldwide was sensational. It caused this upsurge in visitor numbers to the dockyard.
‘It’s healthy not just for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard but for Portsmouth and the south east because it has raised us to be on a top national level.
‘We are meeting people who have travelled from around the world.
‘They are saying they have heard about it and travelled to Britain to see Portsmouth and the Mary Rose. That’s hugely satisfying.’
Councillor Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The number of people coming here is going up every year. The Mary Rose Museum is a major player in that.
‘It’s astonishing. The museum and the creative industries in the city pump £574m into the city’s economy. It’s an enormous part of our economy. It’s a world-class museum.’
Mr Lippiett added: ‘Lots of people are saying it’s in the top 10 museums in the world.
‘With the increased visitor flow, the dockyard can invest more in the key infrastructure to make it a much better experience.
‘That’s very exciting for Portsmouth. Portsmouth is riding high.
‘The Mary Rose belongs here. She’s in a museum 20 yards from where she was built.
‘She has fulfilled the ambitions of the people who went to look for her and raised her 40 years ago.
‘For the whole Portsmouth dockyard it’s been a great success because the investment can be used to improve the experience. The future is just as exciting as this past year has been.
‘We are planning to raise the money to put the work in to make sure this museum is the best in the country.’