Mary Rose Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Mary Rose Museum

Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom

The Mary Rose was King Henry VIII’s favourite warship, sunk in 1545 and recovered in 1982.

Image Credit: Geni / CC

About Mary Rose Museum

The Mary Rose Museum is a historical museum located at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the United Kingdom. It is run by the Mary Rose Trust.

Mary Rose Museum history

The Mary Rose was built between 1509 and 1511 and was amongst the largest and most advanced warships of the time, being one of the first to carry heavy guns. King Henry VIII favoured the Mary Rose and she was to serve in a series of conflicts including against the French and the Scottish.

On 19 July 1545, the Mary Rose sank in the Solent during a clash with the French fleet. The King himself witnessed her demise. There are numerous theories as to why the vessel sank, although none have been unanimously confirmed. The Mary Rose would only be discovered again in the 1970’s and recovered in 1982.

A committee was set up to consider many different methods of raising the hull. They decided to use a purpose-built lifting frame that would be attached by wires to steel bolts passing through the hull at carefully selected points. When the weather and tide were favourable, the lifting frame was raised by the crane Tog Mor, and the hull was moved above the cradle.

After being salvaged in 1982, the wreckage of the Mary Rose was held at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. In 2012, her hull was removed from public view and is now on display at the Mary Rose Museum.

Mary Rose Museum today

Today, the hull of the Mary Rose is on full view to the public, held in a large hall at the centre of the museum.

Visitors can view the Mary Rose from three galleries, seeing how the men of the Mary Rose lived, worked and fought in the dramatic audio-visual display.

Whether you’re interested in the lives of the officers, the ordinary sailors, or even the ship’s dog, you don’t just get a window into their lives, The Mary Rose opens a door to the world of 1545.

Visitors can also see thousands of genuine Tudor objects, from the large bronze and iron ship’s guns, to personal items like wooden bowls and nit combs, which recreate life on board with an authenticity no other attraction can provide.

The museum also provides workshops and tours for groups of all ages.

Getting to the Mary Rose Museum

To get to the Mary Rose Museum simply follow directions to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The Dockyard is less than 5 miles from Junction 12 of the M27. from here follow the brown and white signs to ‘Historic Dockyard’ which will lead you to our official 295 space car park which is located only 400 yards from the entrance at Victory Gate. If this car park is full there are others within close proximity at Gunwharf Quays and Havant Street.

If travelling via public transport, South Western Railway run frequent trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour, with a journey time of only 90 minutes. There are also regular services to and from Southampton Central with links to the South West and the West country. Portsmouth Harbour train station is only 200 yards from the entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Many local and regional bus services stop at the Hard Interchange (adjacent to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard entrance).

Once you have entered the Dockyard, follow signs to Mary Rose Museum.

Featured In

British Shipwrecks to Visit

From battle-ready vessels owned by famous kings to doomed cargo transporters, the seas surrounding Britain are full of shipwrecks and secrets

Tudor Sites in England

Discover some of the best Tudor sites in England, from Henry VIII's favourite residence of Hampton Court Palace, to Shakespeare's magnificent Globe Theatre.