Designs for Mary Rose get go-ahead

Plans to produce a permanent museum attached to the Tudor warship Mary Rose are set to advance following a £21m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete its conservation.

Designed by a collaborative team consisting of Land Design Studio and architects Wilkinson Eyre and Pringle Brandon, the visitor space will see the ship’s preserved hull reunited with thousands of unseen artefacts for the first time in 500 years.

The museum building will be positioned over the dock in Portsmouth where the ship is undergoing conservation work. It is described as a finely crafted ‘wooden jewellery box’ which will be clad in timber planks, painted black, to reflect the structure of the original ship.

New galleries will run the length of the ship, imitating the missing port side and featuring original artefacts. Galleries at either end will display additional material related to the corresponding deck level, including further artefacts and interpretation materials, as well as ‘hands-on’ experiences.

‘It is more of a wrapped-up experience as part of a visit to the whole ship than a museum’, says Land Design Studio creative director Peter Higgins. ‘The idea is to leave the hull where it is being conserved and we will build a contemporary system that mirrors that hull, featuring all of the artefacts. We want to rebuild the story of the ship through a mirror image and reinstall some of the features in exactly the same way.’

Visitors will be able to take a journey through a slice of Tudor England as they enter the museum. The history of the ship, including its sinking in 1545 and the lives of the seamen and officers who served on the Mary Rose, will be highlighted.

The museum is scheduled for completion in 2011 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first voyage of the ship.

At the same time, The Cutty Sark Trust has received an increased grant of £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for that ship’s restoration, meaning the trust now has secured £30m against projected costs of £35m. This should guarantee the future of the design plans for the ship, by architect Youmeshehe, Designmap and exhibition specialist Barry Mazur, following the fire on board last summer.

• The Mary Rose design team was appointed in May 2005 to produce a permanent museum
• The ship was an English Tudor warship, thought to be named after King Henry VIII’s sister Mary and the Tudor emblem, the rose
• It sank in the Solent in 1545
• The surviving section of the ship was raised in 1982, along with an extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts

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