30 Sep

  • By kristianstill

Mary Rose at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

We were lucky with the weather as the Mary Rose Museum and Study Centre is at the far end of the dockyard. Walking in glorious sunshine prepared us for what lay ahead.

The first session was in the classroom, at the back of the building, where the historical perspective of the Mary Rose was explored. Our first task, to identifying features that showed us it was a war ship and why the ship sink?

The facts were that it sunk on 19.7.1545, on the Solent near Southsea Castle, in battle with French.

The next task was looking at written sources and deciding which was the most credible; was it French fire, wind, sailing accident, lack of discipline or overloading. All of these were considered and the class were asked to put the reasons in order and then use them to vote most likely and the least likely.

The mystery object challenge was to work out what the artifact was and who owned it on the boat and this was the first opportunity to handle the objects the men on the ship would have owned. The artifacts informed us of the lives the men on the ship.


Next session lab exploring how weight, its distribution and buoyancy contributed to the ship culminating in a group balancing guns and men on the ship. Nail biting as the last item made the ship tip. The museum was the last part of the trip and the group were taken round on a whistle stop tour of three floors to see the inside of the ship as it had been raised from its resting place in the Solent.

We return to class with a much deeper understanding of the context of the great war ship, the Mary Rose.