Story: Prisons

Prison hulk, Portsmouth, 1828

Prison hulk, Portsmouth, 1828

A prison hulk floats in Portsmouth Harbour, England, in this image from 1828. In the years following the American revolution in the 1770s, convicts who would formerly have been deported to North America had to be held in British prisons instead. As the prisons became overcrowded, the dilapidated hulks of ships were increasingly used to hold inmates. From 1788, when transportation to Australia began, hulks continued to be used as holding stations for convicts before they were deported.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-110-015
Etching by Edward William Cooke

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Peter Clayworth, 'Prisons - Early prisons, 1840–1879', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 August 2022)

Story by Peter Clayworth, published 20 Jun 2012