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Official launch of the new £35 million pound Mary Rose Museum
Royal Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth
What it was all about? After 450 years under the sea and another 30 in a makeshift building, the magnificent Mary Rose was getting a custom built home and the unveiling had to be as spectacular as the ship and the new £35 million museum itself.
What we did:
When you you’ve got a flagship to reveal, you need a big flag, a very big flag. The clients had grand and exciting plans. They wanted a massive Tudor flag to unveil the new visitors’ centre – and it was going to be live on telly. Blimey! We thought.
We were thrilled with the idea – and delighted to be involved – but our first challenge was to make sure that the client fully understood a piece of material that’s 270 square metres is actually a huge sail, and only light winds, could cause dramatic (and not good dramatic) effects.
But once we were happy everyone understood – and we developed a Plan B for a windy day – the next challenge was to sort the mechanics… find a way to do the reveal ‘naval style’ using local sea cadets in a way that would work on live tv. The BBC was going to show the unveiling live on the 6 o’clock news.
The scaffolding to get the flag up high enough we could cover. But we didn’t know what the weather would do and the sea cadets couldn’t be involved in an on-site practice until late on the unveiling day because they couldn’t get time off school.
It was a touch nerve-racking for everyone. But in the end, after starting off wet and windy, the day cleared up and we didn’t need the scaled down plan B version. And a two hour intensive training session we had with the cadets gave us the confidence they could, quite literally, carry off their bit.
The event was grand, stylish and superb and most definitely fitting for the king of Tudor warships.
What we did (in more detail):
We created a 6m high and 45m wide (that’s 20ft high by 128ft wide in old money) Tudor standard and smaller flags, and created and put up a scaffold wrap to create a structure for the unveiling
What else was involved:
Planning and site meetings with clients and builders, surveys of the building and grounds, health and safety reviews and reports, producing a specific risk assessment and method statement, biting lots of nails, and training 30 sea cadets.