This page is to donate in memory of Col. Wendell Lewis who lived a full and happy life well into his 95th year.
One of his proudest achievements was becoming the Director of Recovery for the Hull of the Mary Rose and later Chair for the Mary Rose Trust. This was not even deemed possible when he joined the team and in fact there were suggestions that the Solent would be dredged and the Hull possibly damaged.
They say there is nothing like the possibility of losing something to focus the mind. Wendell got together with some of his scientific friends and they set about coming up with a method of raising a complex structure of wood, without knowing how strong it was, from silt and mud. At this point the structure was stuck firm to the seabed and just about completely buried.
They came up with the idea of bringing up the Hull in an enormous frame but how to stop the frame from crushing the Hull was the issue. The ingenious system that is still in use today was to use a series of cushions, every other cushion was filled with water and the others deflated. As the Hull went from water to air the bags with water in them emptied and those without anything in them were filled by air. This cushioned the complete structure allowing the recovery to go ahead.
The Hull was initially released from the seabed by strops (leather bands) being placed under the Hull by divers and it being lifted gently from the seabed. The Hull was then placed onto a cradle and locked into position (with some drama) a frame placed on top to hold everything in position and it was lifted from the seabed and as they say everything else is history…