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1999 Archives

Flagship Portsmouth-Home Port to Three of the World's Greatest Warships
For Immediate Release

Flagship Portsmouth at the Historic Dockyard is home port to three of the world's greatest historic ships- "The Mary Rose," "HMS Victory" and "HMS Warrior 1860".

Together with the Royal Naval Museum, Dockyard Apprentice and Warships by Water harbour cruises around the modern fleet, Flagship Portsmouth is an incomparable maritime adventure. Visitors can see the hull of The Mary Rose, Henry VIII's favourite warship, from air-conditioned viewing galleries in the Ship Hall, where an audio commentary describes the layout of the ship and the programme now being carried out to preserve her ’delicate timbers.

Bronze cannon, longbows, a backgammon board and the Barber-Surgeon's hat are just some of the 1000 remarkable Tudor artefacts on display in the Mary Rose Museum. There is also a 12 minute film showing how she was raised from the Solent seabed on that memorable day 15 years ago in –October 1982.

HMS Victory brings to life the harsh conditions ordinary seamen endured at sea for months on end. You can see the way they lived, ate and fought on the lower gundeck and compare it with the relative opulence of the Great Cabin where Nelson planned his battle strategy, that led to his defeating the Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in 1805.

The legendary ship, the world's oldest commissioned warship, is currently being restored to her Trafalgar appearance in time for the Battle's 200th anniversary in 2005, when she will be the focal point for the celebrations.

You can also explore the four huge decks of HMS Warrior 1860, Britain's first iron-hulled, armoured battleship and the only surviving member of Queen Victoria's Black Battlefleet. This beautifully restored, sleek, steam and sail powered ship was the fastest and largest of her day; the ultimate deterrent as she never fired a shot in anger.

She recaptures one day in the 1860s when she was first in commission with the officers table set for dinner, cannon positioned for action. Warrior is also one of the country's most unusual wedding venues.

.Two new galleries have just opened at the Museum. Nelson: The Hero And The Man shows Nelson in an exciting and challenging new light. Among the exhibits is the most lifelike model ever made of the great man based on research carried out at the museum. The Sailing Navy, a fully interactive gallery, shows what life was like at sea during the Golden Age of Sail. There are many fascinating sections including one on victual sailing and the weaponry on board a typical wooden ship of the time.

A third gallery, Victory At Trafalgar will give visitors a chance to experience what it would have been like on the gundecks of HMS Victory during this famous battle. The gallery will be open in time for Trafalgar Day (October 21) this year.

Complementing the museum is the Dockyard Apprentice in Boathouse 7 where the date is 1911 and visitors clock on as raw recruits to learn the tricks of the trade. Nautical skills on offer include tying knots and sending signals by flag or semaphore. Boathouse 7 also contains the 360 seat Tradewinds restaurant and the children's playship,Fighting Top. The boathouse is also the start of the Dockyard Heritage Trail that traces the history of the dockyard and its buildings, bringing to life some of its colourful characters.

Take the Warships by Water harbour tour of the operational Naval Base to see the modern Navy - the historic ships of the future - and the other great landmarks around the Harbour rounds off the trip to Flagship Portsmouth.

Visitors to Flagship Portsmouth can take advantage of a whole range of saver tickets including Passport tickets to see all the attractions. Season tickets are also available for regular visitors and pre-booked group visits are also catered for. Full details are available on the 24 hour information hotline, telephone 01705 861512. You can also book tickets through Flagship Portsmouth's website http://www.flagship.org.

.For further information, please contact:
Alison Henderson, Public Relations Officer
E-mail: alison@flagship.org

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