Hampshire is set for a year of celebration in 2022, with a host of anniversaries – from the birth of first-class cricket to the discovery of a King Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the raising of one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks.
Add into the mix birthday wishes for the country’s last remaining Victorian steam driven brickworks, as well as anniversary celebrations at a hands-on, live-science centre with the UK’s largest standalone planetarium, and the stage is set for a bumper year for visitor experiences.
Among the most high profile, must be the 40th anniversary of the raising of The Mary Rose…
Probably one of the most famous shipwrecks in the world, The Mary Rose spent more than four centuries on the seabed, after sinking in 1545 defending England from invasion, and 2022 marks 40 years since Henry VIII’s warship returned to the surface.
Millions watched BBC TV’s live broadcast of her being raised from the Solent on 11 October 1982. Since then, the remains of The Mary Rose have been on display within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where a new and immersive experience, ‘Experience 1545 – When their world ended’, opened in summer 2021.
While details of events are still being finalised, a new exhibition is planned at The Mary Rose Museum (https://maryrose.org).
Visitors can also retrace the footsteps of King Henry VII, who watched from Southsea Castle as his flagship sank. Built in 1544, the Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry around England’s coasts to protect the country from invaders. Visitors can explore the Castle’s keep and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the Keep to the Isle of Wight (https://southseacastle.co.uk).
Hampshire is also where Tutankhamun meets Downton Abbey.
They may seem a world apart, but Hampshire’s Highclere Castle can link both in a double celebration for 2022. As the real-life location for worldwide hit Downtown Abbey, the stars and cameras were back at Highclere to film the new cinema sequel, which is out in March.
But 2022 is also the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, and Highclere will be marking its links to that milestone moment. The Castle’s 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh in November 1922, along with Howard Carter, and the castle’s Egyptian Exhibition reveals more about the Earl’s story and his fascination with Egypt (www.highclerecastle.co.uk/egyptian-exhibition).
Meanwhile, cricket fans will be bowled over by sporting history in Hampshire during 2022, a county widely known as “the cradle of cricket”, thanks to Hambledon Cricket Club.
Founded in the 1750s it became one of England’s most powerful clubs and helped to develop many of the game’s early rules. Matches were played on Broadhalfpenny Down, which is still used today; while The Bat and Ball pub – Hambledon’s clubhouse – now draws cricket fans from across the world to see historic memorabilia.
Summer 2022 marks the 250th anniversary of the first recognised First-Class cricket match, played at Broadhalfpenny Down 24-25 June 1772, between a Hambledon XI and an All England XI, and events are being planned to commemorate the anniversary (www.broadhalfpennydown.com).
If science and the universe are more to your liking, there is plenty of hands-on, interactive family fun on offer at Winchester Science Centre, which turns 20 in 2022.
Offering a journey through the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), the striking Centre, set on the edge of the South Downs National Park, has interactive exhibitions and live science shows, as well as The Planetarium, with a massive screen that makes visitors feel like they are flying through space (www.winchestersciencecentre.org).
For some animal magic, get closer to the wonders of the natural world at Marwell Zoo, which first opened 50 years ago, on 22 May 1972, and originally known as Marwell Zoological Park.
Owned and operated by global conservation charity, Marwell Wildlife, it is home to hundreds of exotic and endangered animals all within a landscaped 140-acre park. As well as contributing towards the charity’s projects to conserve species and habitats, both in Hampshire and around the world, Marwell Zoo is also committed to sustainability, and set itself the goal of surpassing carbon neutrality by its 50th anniversary (www.marwell.org.uk).
More celebrations are planned for Hampshire’s popular steam heritage railway the Watercress Line, which is planning to mark 45 years since the line re-opened as a preservation project. While details are still being finalised, there are plans for a steam gala (29 April – 2 May 2022), commemorating the first passenger train ride on the re-opened line in April 1977 (https://watercressline.co.uk).
And the bricks?
In 2022 the Brickworks Museum – the last remaining Victorian steam driven brickworks in the country – marks 125 years since it first produced bricks. The Museum, near Southampton, tells the story of brick making from 1897, when Bursledon Brickworks was founded, to its closure in 1974. At the heart of the museum is the original brick making machinery and steam engine. As well as the authentic sights, sounds and smells of the steam-driven Victorian brickworks – and a collection of bricks and chimney pots – visitors can also have a go at making their own brick (https://thebrickworksmuseum.org).
For tourist information about Hampshire see www.visit-hampshire.co.uk
Photo: The Mary Rose
Highclere Castle Egyptian Exhibition