The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Recently I was fortunate to be able to travel the British Isles, a place jam packed with histories, stories and interesting people. I should also mention I’m from them. Now this may seem strange, referring to my trip as “travelling”, however many of my fellow citizens are far more likely to travel abroad to sunnier weather for their holidays, barely seeing anything of the country they live in. Personally, I’ve always been incredibly interested in history of all kinds, though how can one not be fascinated in the origin of their own lands?
I decided I’d pick a few destinations and hop from place to place learning all I could about eat place, and in turn the places as a whole. I learned all about the Neolithic Age at Stonehenge, about the Vikings in Dublin, I saw the Crown Jewels for both England and Scotland and even visited the supposed birthplace of the wizard Merlin. Still, somehow there so much more left I haven’t seen and there are so many places here that it’s hard to pick where to go next. In fact, even recommending places I have been to is hard, because there are so many good ones. There are plenty of obvious spots to visit that certainly won’t disappoint, places like The British Museum, The Tower of London or Edinburgh Castle are all fantastic but if you’re looking for somewhere a little less obvious then I can certainly recommend learning all about histories greatest Navy at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
It should first be noted that there are countless museums here at the Dockyard with ever changing exhibitions, it’s almost impossible to visit all of them in a day. Personally, I was not able to do so anyway, though I managed to see everything I was most interested in whilst there so this shouldn’t be a problem, more just a reason to visit again. The history here ranges from the 16th Century to modern day and takes you through the advancements of naval technology, telling you about each of its greatest players (at least in Britain) along the way.
The Mary Rose
I (somewhat unintentionally) worked through the sites in chronological order, starting with the oldest ship on show, or at least what is left of it, the Mary Rose. This grand warship was first built in 1510 and became part of the Tudor Navy under the reign of King Henry VIII. The ship sunk under somewhat mysterious circumstances, believed to have either been cause by battle with the French or simply due to having too much weight on one side of the ship, causing it to tip and sink. Whatever the case may be in 1545 it found itself beneath the depths of the Solent, the strait between Mainland England and the Isle of Wight. Hundreds of years later, in 1971, the ship was rediscovered, it had sunk into the mud and because of this much of the ship and the artefacts kept aboard were found in excellent, sometimes perfect condition.