Unseen Mary Rose pictures revealed in groundbreaking Wikipedia deal

By Culture24 Staff | 04 January 2010
  • Archived article
A photo of a wreckage being lifted out of the sea by a construction vessel

(Above) A retouched version of an image from the final stages of the salvage operation on the Mary Rose in 1982. The shot is the first of dozens which will appear on Wikimedia

Snaps of the salvage operation to save the Mary Rose and 500-year-old tools found onboard the historic warship have been revealed to the public after bosses at the Portsmouth naval icon donated dozens of precious pictures to Wikipedia.

The Mary Rose Trust has handed 57 previously unseen images to Wikimedia – the image and media version of the online encyclopaedia – in the first deal of its kind between the site and a UK heritage body.

Two of the photos show the final stages of the critical October 1982 operation to bring the vessel, described as a "time capsule of Tudor England", to the surface for the first time since it sank in July 1545.

Weapons and personal items from the recovery are shown, accompanying a rewrite of the main Wikipedia article on the Mary Rose by Swedish academic Peter Isotalo.

The agreement is a major breakthrough for Wikimedia, which is encouraging more domestic heritage sites to follow suit with a Britain Loves Wikimedia campaign next month.

"Making content available on Wikimedia is a fantastic way to increase the visibility of our cultural heritage," said Wikimedia UK Chair Mike Peel.

"These images can now be seen by the millions of people around the world who regularly read and edit Wikipedia and its sister projects."

A variety of important works have already been made available free of charge via Wikimedia this week, passing into the public domain after midnight on January 1, 70 years after the death of their creators.

Poetry by WB Yeats and texts by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud were among the more notable pieces to appear. More than 5.5 million free pictures and media files have been added to the portal since 2004.

Keep an eye on the Wikimedia Mary Rose images page for more pictures.

Read about the Mary Rose Trust's plans for the redisplay of the iconic warship and hear Christopher Dobbs of the Mary Rose Trust talk about his favourite object from the Mary Rose collection.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: