Joy as revamped Mary Rose museum wins three awards at prestigious ceremony

Chief executive Helen Bonser-Wilton, centre-left and operations manager James Rodliff. Picture: Nick Williams
Chief executive Helen Bonser-Wilton, centre-left and operations manager James Rodliff. Picture: Nick Williams
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A CITY museum which tells the story of a downed Tudor warship and its crew has won three awards after it was given a complete renovation in 2016.

Bosses at The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard were delighted to take home the ‘gold’ honours at the Beautiful South Awards in Brighton on Wednesday night. 

The ceremony at the Grand Hotel celebrated the best of south-east England’s tourism businesses and experiences – and the Mary Rose Museum rose to victory in three separate categories. 

The Mary Rose Trust’s chief executive Helen Bonser-Wilton and operations manager James Rodliff returned home with awards for Large Visitor Attraction, Business Tourism and Venue and Access and Inclusivity.

‘It’s a hat trick!’ said Ms Bonser-Wilton. 

‘We are thrilled to have won three top prizes at the Beautiful South Awards, in recognition of our efforts to make Mary Rose the most welcoming destination catering to a wide range of audiences.

‘Mary Rose is a must-experience British icon and these big wins motivate us to work even harder to welcome visitors to our wonderful museum.’ 

As previously reported, the Mary Rose Museum has welcomed more than 10 million visitors since the warship went on display in 1983 – a year after it was raised. 

But its ability to tell the story of King Henry VIII’s Tudor warship was given a massive boost in 2016, when its revamped venue opened after an upgrade worth more than £5m. 

Instead of being conserved in a wet room at one spot in the dockyard as it previously was – with thousands of excavated artefacts in another – the ship takes centre stage at an all-in-one, three-floor site. 

Some 19,000 artefacts are displayed around it, illustrating what life on the ship would have been like for the 500 men on board when she sank in the Solent in 1545. 

It is thought only 35  of those men survived the ordeal, which historically has been put down to a weight imbalance and a strong gust of wind.