On a summer afternoon in July 1545, as King Henry VIII watched from shore, the Mary Rose, the flagship of his navy, sank while defending England from the French fleet in the Battle of the Solent off Portsmouth. She took 500 lives - and the ship's dog - to the bottom, preserving a moment in time, hidden beneath the Solent until 1982, when she was raised. It took 28,000 separate dives to retrieve all the poignant remnants of a crew's everyday life on a Tudor warship.
Since she was raised, experts and scientists have engaged in more than two decades of preservation work and study, preparing the Mary Rose and her story for a major new museum in Portsmouth, set to open in late spring of this year. (Originally, the plan was to open in 2012 but the Mary Rose was not quite ready to meet the public then).
It has taken nearly £35 million to complete the job, with funds coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund, charitable trusts, corporate and private sponsors corralled by a team of volunteer fundraisers. Now only £35,000, or 0.1% of the total is needed to unite the hull of the ship with its 19,000 artefacts (the finest collection of 16th century artefacts in the world). The Mary Rose Trust is appealing to the public to close the gap. You could be part of history with a donation of as little as £1 to the Mary Rose Appeal.