The Mary Rose and Southsea Castle go back a long way – all the way back to the construction of the castle in 1544, the year before the Mary Rose was lost, with 500 men on board. It is said that it was from Southsea castle that Henry VIII, the King of England, witnessed the loss of the Mary Rose during the Battle of the Solent, which saw a fleet of 200 French warships attempt to invade Portsmouth. More recently, in the 1980s the castle hosted a small exhibition of Mary Rose artefacts, prior to our original museum opening in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
With this much history behind them, it was only natural that Southsea Castle should host the Mary Rose Museum again as part of their hugely successful Pop-Up Museum tour, which has seen them travel as far as Gloucestershire and Norfolk, spreading the story of the Mary Rose and her new museum, which is due to reopen in the summer, to over 100,000 people! The tent they use to house the pop-up museum features a copy of the Cowdray engraving, which shows the Battle of the Solent, with Southsea Castle right at the centre!
Over the Bank Holiday Weekend (29th-30th May 2016) Southsea Castle will be taken over by the ‘crew’ of the Mary Rose, who will be introducing the people of Portsmouth to such Tudor activities as Archery and Nine Men’s Morris, a game found scratched onto a barrel lid on the ship, as well as more traditional fare like dressing up and artefact handling. For our older visitors, there will also be a number of talks on the Mary Rose, covering her life, loss and recovery! Of course, all the usual Southsea Castle attractions will be available, and even better, it’s all free to enter!