Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Henry VIII's Mary Rose Update! Work Begins on Europe’s Biggest New Museum Project

On October 11th work began on the most ambitious heritage construction project seen in Europe this decade.

On the 28th anniversary of the raising of the Mary Rose,  work to secure the future of King Henry VIII’s favourite ship has started as part of a £16.3 million contract to build the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Signing of the contract for the construction of the New £35 million Mary Rose Museum: Left to right:
Brian Clayton, Senior Legal Manager, Bouygues UK.
Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust
Philippe Jouy, Warings Contractors Ltd Managing Director

Warings, a member of the international construction and services group Bouygues, is delivering the construction phase of the £35 million project for the Mary Rose Trust, the charity responsible for the conservation of the Tudor flagship which sank in action in 1545.

Construction of the museum began 28 years to the day after the raising of the Mary Rose from her muddy tomb on the bed of the Solent, in front of a worldwide television audience of 60 million.

On the construction site of the New £35 million Mary Rose Museum.
Yellow jacket: Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust
Orange Jacket: Philippe Jouy, Warings Contractors Ltd Managing Director
King Henry VIII’s costume: Andy Owen, Warings Contractors Ltd Senior Project Manager

The build is a major step in the final chapter in the conservation of the great ship, a painstaking process which began in 1982.  The museum, scheduled for completion in autumn 2012, will reunite the Mary Rose with the majority of the 19,000 beautifully preserved artefacts recovered with her, to present visitors with an unparalleled experience of Tudor life.

Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said; “We are delighted to have appointed Portsmouth-based Warings for delivery of the construction phase of this historic project.

“The significance of the Mary Rose collection cannot be underestimated and we still have a £4 million fundraising target to meet before the museum can be opened to the public in 2012, the UK’s Olympic year.

“One year on since the launch of the Mary Rose Public Appeal we remain reliant on the public to continue to ensure this national treasure is preserved for future generations.”
The Mary Rose Trust still has to raise further funds to secure the future of Henry VIII’s flagship.  The Trust is tasked with raising a total of £15 million to match fund the £21 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, one of the largest made, which the new museum project has received. The Trust receives no central funding and is entirely reliant on donations to reach its ambitious final target.

Philippe Jouy, Warings Managing Director, added; “This is a unique project which will pose some unique challenges for our dedicated team.  Not least is the immense care required to build a modern museum around the precious timbers of the ship as the final stages of its conservation continues.  We are well-equipped with the necessary skills and expertise and are proud to be leading this landmark development to protect and preserve a British historic icon.

“The museum will represent the very best in 21st century architecture and construction, providing a beautiful and secure environment for the finest collection of 16th century artefacts in the world.”

The new building housing the Mary Rose’s fully conserved hull and her artefacts will take the form of a finely crafted wooden ‘jewellery box’, clad in timber planks. It will replace the current temporary museum located 300 metres away, which has space to display only one twentieth of the Tudor items recovered with the wreck.

During the construction of the new museum the Mary Rose is out of view to the public. When the new museum opens in 2012 the preserving chemical sprays that keep her shrouded in mist will be gone. The ship will be on display during the final phase of conservation – controlled air drying – until 2016 when her 34 year conservation process will be complete.

The existing Mary Rose Museum remains open during construction to offer an amazing visitor experience with more than 1,000 of the finest conserved artefacts recovered from the site.

The Mary Rose
The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. Launched in 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII.
After a long and successful career, she sank during an engagement with a French fleet in 1545. Her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of maritime archaeology.

A dedicated Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, remains open while the ship hall housing the preserved wreck is temporarily closed during construction of the new Mary Rose Museum. The amazing artefacts discovered with the great ship, remain on display and new exhibits, including Hatch, the ship’s dog, are being introduced to maintain the highest quality of visitor experience.

The new Mary Rose Museum will, for the first time since her sinking, re-unite the ship and her contents, fully preserved and presented in a time capsule of Tudor life at sea. 

To help secure the future of The Mary Rose visit www.maryrose.org
Ends For media enquiries, contact:
Charli Beale, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand
07800 582 266
Stuart Disbrey, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand
020 7861 2495

Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 33,900 projects, allocating £4.4billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk
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  1. Hmmm, very interesting although I wonder how the economic downturn and the recent austerity plan in Britain are going to effect this.

  2. How exciting! Thanks for posting this :)

  3. Pricilla, that is a very good point. I hope not at all we will have to wait and see. I have been following this for awhile now and I really would like to visit someday when it is all done. No matter how hard the funding or anything else in the road I figure we need to preserve what we can or it will not be there much longer. Sad but I want my children's children to be able to see it someday.

    Danielle, I am super excited about it, someday a visit is a must. More than likely after they are done building.


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