Back in 2010, the Mary Rose Museum was still based in an old boathouse near the entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the ship was off show while work took place on our current museum, and we’d recently had Hatch, the dog recovered from the Mary Rose, mounted. Our fundraising team came up with the idea of taking the dog out on the road, in much the same way we’ve taken our Pop-up Museum out and about, and where better to take a special dog than to the most prestigious dog show in the world; Crufts!
Luckily for us, the people at Crufts were equally as excited about us attending, and we were given a place on the Kennel Club’s Pavillion at the the main entrance. Not bad for a 460 year old mongrel!
I wasn’t involved much in the organisation, but I was present for all four days of the event, leaving our Birmingham hotel (which had rooms almost the size of the Carpenter’s cabin on the Mary Rose, although with less windows!) before sunrise, and getting back after dark. The days were long, but very enjoyable!
Crufts itself is an amazing show (even if you are walking around it dressed as a Tudor sailor!), you have no idea how many products there are for dogs, from dog washing machines to special dog popcorn! Of course, there were also the hundreds of breeds of dog on show with their owners, many of whom were interested in seeing our dog.
Since we were at Crufts we’ve learned more about Hatch; back then we thought he was a she, and had no real idea of what breed s/he was. There were several possibilities, and a few of the breeders groups brought vets over to have a look to confirm their suspicions. They all seemed to agree that there was a terrier-type skull, but nobody wanted to put a specific breed to it. This didn’t stop the terrier groups though, the Manchester Terrier group having the best argument as they came from a breed used as ratters around the 16th-17thcentury. Sadly for them, genetic analysis suggests he was closer to a Jack Russell (a breed that hadn’t appeared until after the Mary Rose had sunk).
If only we’d won a prize though. Hatch may not have been the most well-bred dog at the show, but he was certainly the best behaved!