The first phase of the tricky £450,000 operation to right the hull of the Mary Rose was under way.
Engineering contractors Taylor Woodrow had begun to lower the hull 2.2 metres on to specially-built jacking towers in the dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The barge on which Mary Rose had rested since December 1982 had been cut away and removed, and the cradle was being jacked down to rest on 48 brick-built plinths.
The hull was fastened to the cradle by historic ships expert Harry Spencer, of Cowes. Under his supervision, craftsmen designed and fitted ‘chocks’ which were placed between the ship and cradle – and the hull was anchored to the cradle using tensioned cables.
When the hull was lowered, work would start on building steel ramps on the side of the dry dock which would allow engineers to rotate the ship through 30 degrees.
Margaret Rule, the research director of the Mary Rose Trust, said: ‘The ship will be better-supported and the visitor will have a much better idea of what she was like as a ship – and the wreck will be just a memory.’