Work starts in Portsmouth on £36m Mary Rose museum

Computer image of new Mary Rose museum The museum will take the form of a finely crafted wooden "jewellery box", clad in timber planks

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Work has started on a new £36m museum for the Mary Rose ship at Portsmouth dockyard.

The building will bring the hull of the ship and its 19,000 artefacts under the same roof for the first time since they were brought up from the seabed.

Construction comes on the 28th anniversary of the raising of the Mary Rose watched by a worldwide audience.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided £21m for the project with the Mary Rose Trust finding the remainder.

The new museum, due to open in 2012, is intended to resemble a wooden "jewellery box" with timber plank cladding.

It will replace the current temporary museum which has space to display only 5% of the Tudor items recovered with the wreck.

During construction the Mary Rose will be out of view to the public.

But when the museum reopens, the preserving chemical sprays that have kept the hull shrouded in mist will be gone.

The ship will be on display during the final phase of conservation, controlled air drying, until 2016 when the 34-year project to preserve the timbers will be complete.

Rear Admiral John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: "The significance of the Mary Rose collection cannot be underestimated and we still have a £4m fundraising target to meet before the museum can be opened to the public in 2012, the UK's Olympic year.

Mary Rose The hull of the Mary Rose has to be sprayed with a preserving chemical to maintain the timbers

"One year on since the launch of the Mary Rose Public Appeal we remain reliant on the public to continue to ensure this national treasure is preserved for future generations."

Philippe Jouy, from contractors Warings, said: "This is a unique project which will pose some unique challenges for our dedicated team.

"Not least is the immense care required to build a modern museum around the precious timbers of the ship as the final stages of its conservation continues."

The Mary Rose is the only 16th-century warship on display anywhere in the world.

The ship, one of Henry VIII's favourites, was launched in 1511 but sank during a battle with France in 1545.

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