The roof comes off as Portsmouth’s Mary Rose’s guns get a new home

HISTORIC The new Mary Rose Musuem
HISTORIC The new Mary Rose Musuem
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THEY spent almost five centuries submerged in the murky depths of the Solent.

Now five large Tudor guns will take to the skies en route to a new home.

HISTORIC The Mary Rose's large Tudor guns are being transferred to the new Mary Rose Musuem, inset.

HISTORIC The Mary Rose's large Tudor guns are being transferred to the new Mary Rose Musuem, inset.

A crane is set to remove the guns through the roof of the old Mary Rose museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Wednesday morning.

They will then be installed in the world-famous ship’s new £35m museum which is being built 200 yards away.

The cast-bronze guns were raised up with the ship 30 years ago and put on display in the museum in 1984.

But it will take a team of a dozen specialist engineers and curators to get the artefacts back out before they can be taken to the new site which will open later this year.

Nick Butterley, exhibition co-ordinator at the Mary Rose Trust, said: ‘This is one of the last steps in preparing the artefacts for installation in the new museum.

‘The guns form the centre piece of our new displays and it’s great for all of us to see them entering the final stages of their journey into the new building.’

The guns – which weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 tonnes each – will be among 19,000 Tudor items on display in the new Mary Rose museum which opens this autumn.

They started life on the main, upper and castle decks of Henry VIII’s flagship which sank during an engagement with the advancing French fleet on July 19, 1545.

The guns, which have individual carvings, are historically significant as the Mary Rose was one of the first warships to fire broadside.

They are among the many thousands of artefacts recovered from the sea bed when the ship was raised in 1982.

The crane will start work at 9.30am on Wednesday and could take all day to lift the guns out – the largest of which is 12ft long.

It comes as work progresses on the new museum that is being built around the shipwrecked hull of the Mary Rose at a dry dock adjacent to Nelson’s HMS Victory.

The wreck is currently out of sight inside the protective ‘hot box’ it has been preserved in for the last 30 years.

Tests are taking place to see if the wax sprays which have protected the wood from decay can be turned off soon.