Mary Rose – Portsmouth, England - Atlas Obscura

Mary Rose

Hauled from the water's depths, Henry VIII's flagship is preserved in this capsule-shaped museum. 


Within the Mary Rose Museum is an impressively intact 16th-century ship that spent hundreds of years lost to the sea.

The Mary Rose was built in 1510 and was the pride of Henry VIII until the warship sank just outside the Portsmouth Harbor in a battle with the French in 1545. Only about 30 of the over 400 crew members survived, with many trapped beneath the netting that was meant to keep invading parties from boarding. 

The ship, with the crew, remained at the bottom of the water until it was raised in 1982. In the following years, about 45% of the men who drowned with the ship were recovered, along with thousands of artifacts. Together, they offer a rare look at life in Tudor England.

As part of an extensive preservation process, the Mary Rose was constantly sprayed for years with water, and then wax. The modernist, capsule-shaped museum, designed by Wilkinson Eyre and Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, was opened in 2013 and rests alongside Nelson’s HMS Victory at the Portsmouth dockyards. In its heart is the Mary Rose. The ship is now fully dried out and no longer requires constant spraying. 

The museum itself is built in a unique shape to mimic the shape of the ship’s decking and has artifacts from the various compartments displayed opposite where they were on the ship. 



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