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All hands to the pumps for the Mary Rose Museum

Visitors to the exciting Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, just a stone’s throw from Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, can’t fail to be impressed by the museum’s The museum is dedicated to the 16th century Tudor Navy warship Mary Rose. The hull and a small selection of the 19,000 artefacts recovered with the ship were on display shortly after the raising in 1982. In September 2009 the ship hall was closed to allow the start of construction of a new museum that was opened at the end of May 2013. The conservation of the Mary Rose hull should be complete by 2016.

The construction was challenging with the museum having to be built over a sealed ‘hotbox’, which housed the hull, without disruption to the vitally important hull conservation spray process. In April 2013 the polyethylene glycol sprays were turned off and the process of controlled air drying began. In 2016 the ‘hotbox’ will be removed and for the first time since 1545 the ship will be revealed dry. The museum displays many thousands of the artefacts recovered from within the ship. The Mary Rose Trust has created a world-leading museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for the Mary Rose and the Tudor Navy, and an international centre for maritime archaeology, education and research.

Every major building such as the Mary Rose museum, depends heavily on the installed specialist machinery and systems that ensure the building environment is maintained within design conservation and visitor comfort parameters. Of major importance, located in dedicated plant rooms, are the pumps.

Engineer on the Mary Rose project was Ramboll UK, while the prime building contractor was Warings (Bouygues UK). The pumps selected from the huge Wilo range were supplied via Pipe Center in Southampton.

The pumps are situated in one of the neatest plant rooms ever seen, a benefit of being able to plan a new building such as this from scratch. The plant room incorporates Wilo pumps for the boiler circulation, secondary heating system, secondary hot water system, for chilled water circulation and a secondary chilled water system. The design of the building incorporates a dual duty approach, with two identical pumps operating alongside each other, sharing the load, to ensure guaranteed functionality at all times. The equipment supplied by Wilo for the project also includes two pressurisation units, in line with the design intent to reduce the risk of system failure and subsequent disruption to visitor flow.

“It was an exciting project for Wilo to be involved in,” said area sales manager, Anette Scheepers. “Pumps are vital to all projects but these flagship projects make involvement very rewarding. We were able to provide the pumps specified and deliver them in real time so that the project ran smoothly.”

“We’re very proud of the museum and delighted with the huge amount of media coverage we received when it was launched in late May, 2013,” said Sally Tyrrell from the Mary Rose Trust.

“Visitor levels have been high and we’re very much on the map as a key visitor attraction down on the south coast with people coming from right across the world to see the historic ship and the artefacts on show here. Being one of the major attractions in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – with HMS Victory and HMS Warrior – the Mary Rose Museum has become an important tourist hub for this part of the world.”

She continued: “Our visitors, quite understandably only see the exhibits on display, and are totally unaware of the considerable design and financial investment in the building, which has led to a memorable visitor friendly experience. We are very much aware of the investment and the individual contributions of many companies in making this a wonderful museum  – and it’s companies like Wilo that have contributed to the success we are now experiencing, even though our thousands of visitors will not see the plant room with the ‘heart beat’ of the museum’s complex systems.”

Wilo pumps are well-known worldwide for their reliability and efficiency levels. In the UK Wilo is seeing its market share grow year on year and its involvement in ‘stand out’ projects like this is increasing as a result. The company has recently been shortlisted in the UK Pump Industry Awards 2014 in the ‘manufacturer of the year’ and the ‘project of the year’ categories.


22 October 2015


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