Margaret Rule and the Mary Rose
- On 29/04/2015
- In People or Company of Interest
From Martin Childs - The Independent
Margaret Rule was the archaeological director who led the team that raised the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, from its resting place in the Solent in front of a worldwide television audience of more 60 million, 437 years after it sank while engaging the French Navy.
Resolute and full of drive and determination, Rule was fundamental to the success of the project, and oversaw the world's largest maritime excavation, one which set the benchmark for future projects.
Rule became the face of and driving force for the Mary Rose Trust in the early stages of the project. She secured the funding for the excavation and the construction of the £27m Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth's historic dockyard which houses the ship's hull and more than 19,000 recovered artefacts.
"This is a duty to the men of the Mary Rose," Rule declared at the opening of the new museum in 2013. It is their monument." Rear-Admiral John Lippiett added, "The Mary Rose is very much her legacy to the nation."
Born in High Wycombe in 1928, Margaret Helen Martin was the only child of Ernest, a sales manager, and his wife, Mabel. Soon after, the family moved to London, where Margaret lived through the Blitz.
After leaving school she read chemistry at University College London, but her studies were cut short when the government introduced a scheme to free places for returning servicemen, who were considered a higher priority.
Unperturbed, she went to night school, which soon led to her working for Beechams pharmaceutical company on a team developing toothpaste. There she met Arthur Rule, a microbiologist.