Tudor nit comb, oldest violin to go on display
By Georgina Cooper
LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Curators of King Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose, a Tudor time capsule likened to a British Pompeii, have revealed thousands of artefacts never before seen by the public, including a nit comb complete with nits from 1545 when the vessel sank.
The fabled warship went down in the Solent off England's southern coast during an engagement with the French fleet, with the loss of more than 400 crew.
The sinking is thought to have been an accident, but exactly what happened has vexed historians for years.
The vessel was spectacularly raised from its watery grave in front of a global audience of some 60 million in 1982.
What remains of the hull has been on display behind glass ever since, but the thousands of personal items found in the wreckage have been hidden from public view due to lack of a suitable space to show them.
The artefacts include a well preserved leather "manbag" complete with compact mirror and cut-throat razor -- the height of Tudor fashion, a giant 4 foot long wooden spoon used to stir the crew's porridge pot and 70 nit combs, some even holding dead nits.
The Mary Rose Trust displayed the items to reporters to launch a cash appeal for a 35 million pound ($55 million) hi-tech museum, scheduled to open in 2012, in which all the objects will be on show.
"Nowhere else in the world is a single moment in Tudor life captured as it is with the Mary Rose," said Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust. Continued...