1 October 2017


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2 Oct 2017

Invitation to SCI’s Free Public Evening Lecture

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Mary Rose: the making of a British icon

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mary Rose is a British icon. The flagship of Henry VIII, she sailed throughout his reign and saw him through five and half wives before sinking dramatically while fighting off an attempted French invasion of Portsmouth in 1545.

Sunk in the Solent, the wreck and her contents were protected by layers of silt, ensuring that the ship and artefacts have been remarkably well preserved. The wreck of Mary Rose and the artefacts were carefully excavated and raised between 1979-1982 and are now displayed in a purpose-built museum in Portsmouth.

Public connection to Mary Rose has always been strong, as Henry VIII’s favourite ship and because of the quality and volume of her collection. This ranges from weapons to everyday working tools, games and instruments to shoes, rosaries, and even the skeleton of the ship’s dog. These give a unique insight into life at all levels of society in Tudor times.

  • But how did we get Mary Rose from Seabed to Showcase?
  • How did we use the latest scientific techniques to determine what conservation treatments would preserve the ship and artefacts for future generations?
  • How did we use sports science and DNA analysis to discover and tell the personal stories of the men who perished so tragically on that dramatic day?

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of Mary Rose Trust will take you on a fascinating journey through the history of Mary Rose and the dramatic story of her discovery, raising and display. It is a story of human endeavour, passion, tenacity, and determination to achieve a huge vision against the odds.

About the Speaker

Helen Bonser-Wilton studied at Bradford University and qualified as an Interpreter and Translator before moving into the world of advertising. She was Group Brand Manager for Crown Paints and then Group Marketing Manager for Bernstein Kitchens, before relocating to Devon to work for the National Trust. Helen spent 12 years at the Trust, working as Marketing and Supporter Development Manager in Devon and Cornwall, Programme Director at Tyntesfield, Director of Operations in the South West, and Change Programme Director at National Trust Head Office.

Helen joined Mary Rose Trust in September 2015 and oversaw the 2016 relaunch of the museum.

Date for your diary: Wednesday 25 October 2017

Venue: SCI HQ, 15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS

Reception opens at 18.00 and the lecture starts at 18.30. This is a free event.

There will be a drinks and networking reception with the opportunity to meet the speaker after the lecture.

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SCI works across crucial sectors as diverse as food and bio-renewables, water, environment, energy, materials and manufacturing, and health and wellbeing.


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