Museum welcomes 100,000 guests in first eight weeks

Paul Griffiths, with Sue Coombs, son Josh and husband Jeff

Paul Griffiths, with Sue Coombs, son Josh and husband Jeff

Commodore Peter Coulson talking to workers at Govan shipyard, where the first sheet of steel was cut for HMS Spey

WATCH: Work starts on new Royal Navy ship

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ONLY eight weeks after its grand opening, the Mary Rose Museum has clocked up 100,000 visitors.

The lucky family who walked through the barriers have described the experience as ‘fabulous’.

Since May 31, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a whole has welcomed 160,000 guests through the dockyard gates to experience the city’s naval heritage.

Sue Coombs, 52, from Salisbury, was the 100,000th visitor, along with her husband Jeff and son Josh.

She said: ‘We wondered what was going on because they kept us back and then we were told we were the 100,000th to come through.

‘It was a very nice surprise. The museum itself was fabulous.

‘We wanted to go ever since it opened but decided to wait a bit, and we obviously had good timing.

‘We’ve got a ticket that lasts a year so I’m sure we’ll be back because there is just so much to take in. It’s great.’

This month marked the 468th anniversary since the sinking of King Henry VIII’s ship.

Tens of thousands of visitors have been drawn to the base to see the famous hull in its new setting.

Paul Griffiths, the head of operations at the new museum, said: ‘I am delighted we welcomed our 100,000th visitor.

‘People have flocked to Portsmouth from around the world and we have been so pleased with the response.

‘It’s been hard work for my wonderful team of staff and volunteers but their response to the challenge has been tremendous and I am extremely proud of them.

‘We look forward to the next 100,000.’

The eyes of the world returned to Portsmouth on May 30 for the museum’s official opening. It was marked with a day of events around the city including a wreath-laying at the wreck 
site.

The Purbrook Archers also launched a volley of flaming arrows into the Solent from the top of Southsea Castle, where King Henry watched his beloved ship sink.

Rear-Admiral John Lippiett, the chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: ‘This is a phenomenal number.

‘We are absolutely delighted so many people have visited the new museum since we opened our doors just eight weeks ago.

‘To see their reaction to what we have achieved is wonderful and is a great credit to everyone’s hard work in building this remarkable museum.’

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