The legendary gentleman who launched the successful search to find Henry VIII’s iconic warship, the Mary Rose, has been honoured, as a new building is named after him.
The late Alexander McKee, a local author author, military historian, and amateur diver, led the team which located the wreck of the ship on the Solent seabed.
Now, Portsmouth City Council have named a new assisted-living housing block after the man who we can thank for the first steps in resurrecting the renowned ship.
Family and friends of McKee visited Alexander McKee House in North Street, Portsea, and viewed a plaque celebrating his achievements.
They were shown around by Councillor Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport, and supported housing business partner Alison Cloutman. They then had tea with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller.
The building will be used to provide support for people with learning disabilities. One of McKee’s sons had learning difficulties and died in 2001.
Councillor Symes said: “It’s very fitting that this building, only a stone’s throw from the ship’s final resting place in the Mary Rose Museum, is named after Mr. McKee. We’re proud to play a part in making sure his achievements are remembered.”
In 1965, McKee launched a project with the Southsea branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club to investigate wrecks in the Solent, hoping to find the Mary Rose.
He discovered an ancient chart showing her approximate position. Sonar scans then revealed an unidentified shape below the seabed.
In 1968, the team probed the seabed and found timber two metres down. They later raised a Tudor cannon, proving the ship was the Mary Rose. This generated enthusiasm and funding, and she was raised in 1982.