Monday, February 04, 2008


Mary Rose saved for the nation by £21 million from Heritage Lottery Fund

February 04, 2008

The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced that it has earmarked a £21 million grant to be awarded to the Mary Rose Trust. This major grant is to complete the conservation of the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose, and build a permanent museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to house the hull and her artefacts.

Michael Aiken, Chairman of the Mary Rose Trust, expressed his delight with the news. He said “The HLF have yet again displayed their commitment to ensuring the nation’s core heritage is saved for posterity”.

The Mary Rose is effectively the first true warship to be built for England and was famously raised from the Solent before a worldwide audience of some 60 million people in 1982.

Over 19,000 artefacts were raised from within her but only 6% of these are currently on display in a temporary museum a short walk away from the hull. The well-known Tudor historian Dr David Starkey describes the collection as: “This country’s Pompeii, painting the finest picture of the world of sixteenth-century life”.

Whilst the Heritage Lottery Fund has been generous in its support of the conservation of the collection over the last 15 years, awarding almost £7 million, the Trust has received no government funding and has relied on visitor income and fundraising to continue the project. The decision to award the £21 million grant, as part of a larger £35 million project, finally secures a future for the Mary Rose.

John Lippiett, Chief Executive of The Mary Rose Trust said: “This grant now enables us to complete the long and painstaking conservation that has lasted 25 years. The project started with a dream in the 1960s by Alexander McKee to rediscover the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s favourite warship. The world watched as the team, led by Dr Margaret Rule, raised the ship and her stunning collection of artefacts in 1982. I am absolutely thrilled that today we can announce that the Mary Rose and her unique collection will be saved for the nation, in perpetuity.”

He continued: “The museum, designed by Wilkinson Eyre with Pringle Brandon as the interior architects, will be remarkable. It will contain almost 70% of the ship’s recovered artefacts instead of the 6% in the current exhibition. There will be something for everyone once we have finished. The hugely important aspects of improved access and increased learning space for the many thousands of students who visit each year will finally be achieved..”

“The hard work starts now,” said John Lippiett. “The Trust has to raise the match funding of £14m within a very tight timescale. We are encouraged already to have raised £3.5 million in cash and pledges including a very generous £1m donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation. Our call now is for everyone to get behind the fundraising to help us preserve this priceless national treasure forever.”

The museum, designed by a team comprising Wilkinson Eyre Architects (architect), Pringle Brandon (interior architect) and Land Design Studio (exhibition design and interpretation), in collaboration with Gifford (structural and M&E engineer), will reunite the ship’s preserved hull with many thousands of unseen artefacts for the first time in 500 years and enhance Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a major visitor destination.

The hull of the Mary Rose will continue to be sprayed with polyethylene glycol, a water-based wax solution, until 2011 whilst the museum, located alongside Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, is built around her. The museum is due to open in time for the Olympics and promises to boost visitor numbers to the City of Portsmouth and its Historic Dockyard, one of the finest maritime attractions in the world. The hull will be carefully dried within the new museum until she can be displayed fully in 2016 when galleries will allow visitors to see both the outside and inside of the conserved hull.

Support the Mary Rose
- The full Mary Rose story can then be told, and its significance to the study of Tudor life both on and off the water will be clearly illustrated and accessible to all.

- A new learning centre will quadruple the existing learning space and increase our work with people of all ages who have special needs.

- New and improved laboratory and workshop facilities will further enhance the Mary Rose as a Centre of Maritime Archaeology and Conservation.

But all this will be very costly - in the order of £35M! To date, they have raised nearly £3.5 million through their Fundraising Appeal and their bid to the heritage Lottery Fund for £21 million has been successful.

They need your help because they receive no Government grants and they rely on voluntary donations.

Income from donations is vital if they are to continue with their programmes of conservation and education.

Make your donation... click here.


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