6th Comprehension Timed

The Raising of the Mary Rose

When I was a little boy, ships which had sunk and were lain on the seabed like treasure chests ready to be discovered again, really captured my imagination.

I was first fascinated by The Titanic. I remember my favourite book was a book of photographs which showed the artefacts that were strewn over the seabed. I could not really grasp how deep the sea was in the area. However, I do remember a picture drawn to scale in my book about the Titanic which showed just how deep the ocean is in that area.

The other ship that fascinated me was the Mary Rose. The excitement around finding this sunken wooden warship that had been lost for so long (437 years to be precise) was quite amazing. What was so magical about the Mary Rose?

I thought at the time that it was so exciting because it was a warship full of treasure (one of Henry VIII’s ships) – well that’s what I imagined, and I was right!

The television coverage of the raising of the Mary Rose was extensive, and I remember feeling quite tense as they raised the fragile wreck from the sea floor. According to the official Mary Rose website, it states that over 60 million people worldwide watched this event.

After the event, I was lucky enough to go on a school trip to visit the Mary Rose, once it had been raised. Today if you visit the Mary Rose, it is dry and in a permanent state of preservation. When I went on my school trip, the ship was on dry land under a temporary structure and the wood was permanently sprayed with water to keep it from deteriorating. It was such an exciting and momentous event and one which I will never forget. It was a huge operation, which involved archaeologists and scientists.

According the official website, it was one man’s determination to find this sunken wreck, and after five years of searching for the Mary Rose he and his team struck gold, and the Mary Rose was located using sonar scans and over 500 volunteer divers to inspect the wreck.

The Mary Rose was a real treasure trove and the artefacts were excavated and recorded in terms of their location.

I clearly remember the day that the team raised the Mary Rose. It was enveloped in a bright yellow metal structure. I also remember that it was a very tense process because we at home did not know whether the ship would survive being raised. Was it going to break up into pieces? The footage of this eventful day still remains on the official website of the Mary Rose and it is well worth watching. It is only half the ship that was raised, but it was huge.    

It is quite amazing to think that there are still a number of parts of the Mary Rose which remain at the bottom of the sea and that were never brought to the surface. The area around the wreckage is protected by a law. There is a map on the Mary Rose official website which clearly shows a bright yellow buoy and it states that 300m around that buoy is protected by a set of rules. The bow has been left in-situ for future generations to study.                           

The Mary Rose, now having been dried out, rests in a dedicated museum in Portsmouth, on the South Coast of England and you can visit her in her full glory.

One day I would like to visit this amazing ship again and I am sure I will be awestruck by her beauty and scale, and the fact that she sat at the bottom of the sea protecting her treasures for all those years.

© Skyward Kids Life Skills 2021