Some old ships

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October 13th 2017
Published: October 13th 2017
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Our main reason for coming to Portsmouth was to see the Mary Rose -Henry VIII‘s battleship- and the Victory- Nelson’s battleship- at the Portsmouth Naval dockyard. Today was the day we had set aside for the visit. After breakfast, we walked from Southsea down to the dockyard. It took us about 30 minutes. Unfortunately the weather was again overcast and a bit drizzly. The drizzle cleared, but it remained grey and with a cold wind for most of the day. We had thought of also going up the Spinnaker tower, but we didn’t think we would get a great view today, so abandoned that idea. Once at the dockyard, we looked at the plan of the exhibits and decided to start with the Mary Rose, because it was the farthest exhibit from the entrance. The ship was sunk during a battle in the Solent close to Portsmouth more than 400 years ago in 1545. She wasn’t found until 1969 and it took until 1982 to raise her. The remains have been placed in an exhibition in the dockyard. There are relics that were found in the boat, and the half ship that was buried in the mud and remained almost intactall on display in their own special building. The other half of the ship was in the water but not in the mud. This meant that it was eroded by the sea. The ship now resides in a fairly dark exhibition space. From time to time, some of the people on board the ship were digitally projected onto the remains, giving an idea of the different jobs that would be done on the ship. In the spaces around the levels of the ship, were some displays with reconstructions of people whose skeletons were found with the Mary Rose, dishes, weapons, tools and other finds. It took a while to go round the exhibition, but it gave a really good overview of the time and the ship. Next to the Mary Rose exhibition, was the newest aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth. It was huge! Portsmouth is her home port, so this is where she is between tours of duty. It was a big contrast to the Mary Rose! The next stop was the Victory. She was Lord Nelson’s flagship at the battle of Trafalgar. It is a huge ship, with four decks of guns (104 big guns in total). It took quite a while to walk through the whole ship. In many places it was difficult to stand up as the space between decks was limited. The ship was set up with furniture and props, so it was say to imagine what life would be like on the ship.After the Victory we had lunch., and then went out to go on a cruise around the harbour. This allowed us to see the naval dockyard, and the current ships of the Royal Navy. After the harbour tour, we spent time looking at a few more exhibits in the dockyard. Finally,before heading back to Southsea, we visited Gunwharf quays, a large outlet complex. A little bit of shopping and then we walked back to the hotel for a rest. Dinner tonight at the Gastro Pub down the road. Not quite as good as last night, but tasty food. Tomorrow we move on to Oxford, our last stop on this trip.

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