What an exciting time it is for everybody connected with the Mary Rose. The new £35m Mary Rose Museum is really taking shape down in the Historic Dockyard – and now we discover that a major milestone in the conservation of Henry VIII’s flagship could be just weeks away.
Following analysis of core samples of wood taken from the Mary Rose’s timbers, the jets that have sprayed water and wax chemicals at the hull to stop it drying out for nearly three decades may soon be turned off.
It’s a huge decision and the experts have to make sure that it is completely safe to move on to the final stage of what has been a painstaking conservation process.
But it means that eventually people will be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of what remains of the Mary Rose.
She may be centuries old, but the techniques being used to preserve her are very high-tech. When the spraying is stopped, long tubes pumping out hot air will be placed inside the hull to set the wax. After another four years of drying out, tubes and windows will be removed and visitors to the new museum will finally be able to get up close to this Tudor time capsule for the very first time.
As for the museum that will house the Mary Rose, that is set to be world-class. The News was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the site and, although the building is far from complete, it already looks very impressive.
We can’t wait until October 11, the 30th anniversary of the day the Mary Rose left her watery grave in the Solent, when the museum is set to open its doors. It may be a tight deadline, but we have confidence that the team building the museum will pull out all the stops.
A bullish John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, believes it will be the most important museum to open this century.
That’s quite a claim. But people from all over the world will flock here to see the Mary Rose and thousands of artefacts in her new home and it will certainly underline the unrivalled naval heritage we have in our midst here in Portsmouth.