After spending more than 400 years marooned on the seabed, you would think there would be very little left from the wreck of the Mary Rose, but as a new exhibition at Whitgift School shows, hundreds of artefacts have remained very much intact.

From coins to knit combs and shoes to the skeleton of the ships dog, the collection is a remarkable exhibit giving a truly amazing insight into life on Henry VIII's flagship that was sunk in the Battle of the Solent against France in 1545.

After 437 years lost under water it was finally raised 1982 and to mark both the 500th anniversary of the order to build it and 30th anniversary of the Mary Rose Trust that ultimately secured its raising, the artefacts are being take out of their usual home in Portsmouth for the very first time.

"This is the incredible thing," said Dr Christopher Barnett, headmaster of the school and director of the exhibition.

"The artefacts have never left Portsmouth, some of them haven't even been shown there.

"It's not like it's the reserves have come to play either, it's the stars that have come down.

"I thought we could do something very special for it here as we have a lot of connections with the Mary Rose.

"Haling Park was once the home of Lord Howard of Effingham, the nephew of Sir Edward Howard, the Chief Captain and Admiral of the Fleet and Lord Thomas Howard, the Admiral on the Mary Rose, so he would no doubt have been on the ship as a little boy."

The exhibition is split into nine themes taking you from the conception of the Mary Rose, a ship which took a daring departure from the traditional designs of the time with gunports cut into her side, right the way through to its sinking and the different hypotheses behind it's destruction.

There's plenty of hands-on and interactive artefacts for visitors and children to get their hands on, from the ropes which look as if they could have been made yesterday to the music that accompanies Britain's oldest surviving violin, giving people the chance to hear what that and other musical instruments of the time sounded like.

An interactive version of the Cowdray engraving, an historical source based on eyewitness accounts, shows in immense detail the events of he day the ship went under while the reconstructed faces of the ship's Gunner and Bosun and the dog's skeleton provide a fascinating end.

In honour of the dog, which the exhibitors have named Hatch, a team of small canines have been brought in to help guide children around the exhibit.

With the help of handlers they will an add an extra dimension on fun to the visit, with a symbol of Hatch representing a number of displays created to be of particular interest to children.

The exhibition is free to school groups providing they book in advance and also offers learning workshops for all the Key Stages, AS and A2 levels and the International Baccalaureate.

Hidden Treasure from the Mary Rose, Whitgift Conference Centre, Whitgift School, Nottingham Road, April 7 to August 7, 10am-5pm, Adults £8, groups £6, conc £5, families £18 (50 per cent discount for Croydon residents). Visit