Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum to open soon after £5.4m makeover

The wait to see the Mary Rose close up is almost over
The wait to see the Mary Rose close up is almost over

New warship is named during navy ceremony

  • New windows have been fitted to give visitors the best-ever view of the Mary Rose
  • City leaders say the museum will make Portsmouth the best city in the UK for maritime history
  • Tudor treasure to open its doors on Wednesday July 20
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SHE is the Tudor treasure that has become one of Portsmouth’s top attractions.

And after 34 years of meticulous conservation work, visitors will finally be able to breathe the same air as Henry VIII’s famed flagship, the Mary Rose.

The Mary Rose Museum will be throwing open its doors on July 20 after a seven-month £5.4m overhaul.

The attraction has been shut while work to remove the walls separating Henry VIII’s famed flagship from the venue’s nine viewing galleries was undertaken.

Now, rather than seeing the remains of her hull through small port holes, visitors will be able to experience the Mary Rose’s majesty through unrestricted floor-to-ceiling windows over three floors.

And for the first time since she was raised from the Solent in 1982, people will be able to walk among the upper deck through a new airlock.

This is really going to make Portsmouth the biggest centre of maritime history in Britain.

Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP

Helen Bonser-Wilton, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust was delighted the project was almost completed.

‘This is the culmination of decades of hard work by the Mary Rose team and we can’t wait to share the new museum with everyone,’ she said.

The opening comes almost 471 years since the ship sunk on July 19, 1545, killing 500 of its crew.

Civic leaders have said they are now excited to see the Mary Rose in a new light.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said: ‘This is really going to make Portsmouth the biggest centre of maritime history in Britain.

‘Where else will you be able to see the flagship of Henry VIII sitting alongside a Type 45 destroyer or the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers?

‘The Mary Rose Museum is one of the city’s most successful tourist attractions and it’s going to be incredibly exciting for people to almost be able to touch the inside of Henry VIII’s flagship.’

City council boss Donna Jones added: ‘We’re really lucky to have a city steeped in a maritime history that is known throughout the world.’

The wreckage has been drying out in a ‘hotbox’ after it was sprayed with chemicals in order to make sure the timbers do not rot. The hotbox has now been removed.

The opening comes after the museum welcomed its one millionth guest last year and was named Britain’s top tourist attraction.

The £35m site in the Historic Dockyard opened in May 2013.