1. Vintage postcard, US Navy, Prison Ship Southery, Portsmouth Navy Yard, pre 1920

    USS Southery (IX-26): USS Southery, a steamer built in 1889 by R. Thompson Sons & Co. at Sunderland, England, was purchased by the United States Navy on 16 April 1898. She was converted to a collier at the Boston Navy Yard and commissioned there on 2 May 1898.

    Southery steamed out of Boston on 6 June and, for the remainder of 1898 and into 1899, she cruised the Atlantic coast from Boston to as far south as Jamaica. On 18 February 1899, the converted collier was placed out of commission at the Norfolk Navy Yard and converted to a prison ship.

    Southery was moved to Boston on 6 April 1902, where she resumed duty as a prison ship. In early July 1903, the prison ship was shifted to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In February 1913, she became station ship at Portsmouth.

    Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 September, and her hulk sold to Boston Iron and Metal Co. of Baltimore, Maryland on 1 December, 1933.


  3. Wooden Maiden aboard Convict Ship SUCCESS
    Date Created/Published: between 1910 - 1915

    Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

  4. "Looks like this (photo) was taken on the Chicago River. The tower in the background is the Wrigley Building. Amazing how much that place has changed since the ’20s. And I wonder what happened to this particular ship…”

    And here’s your answer:

    Success was a former Australian prison ship, built in 1840. Between the 1890s and the 1930s, she was converted into a floating museum displaying relics of the convict era and purporting to represent the horrors of penal transportation in Great Britain and the United States of America. After extensive world tours she was accidentally destroyed by fire while berthed in Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio in 1946.

    *So your guess that the previous photograph was taken in Chicago is plausible.

    More about Success (prison ship) on wiki

  5. Convict Ship SUCCESS 1925

    The term convict ship is colloquially used to describe any ship engaged on a voyage to carry convicted felons under sentence of penal transportation from their place of conviction to their place of banishment.

    It is most commonly used to describe ships engaged in carrying convicts from Great Britain to the Australian Colonies. The First Fleet saw the first convict ships arrive in Australia in January 1788, and the last convict ship, Hougoumont, arrived in Western Australia in 1868.  More on Wiki; See Also:

  6. Prison Hulks on the River Thames, Woolwich, c.1856. © Greenwich Local History Library

    Created following the 1776 statute which ordered that male prisoners sentenced to transportation should be put to hard labour improving the navigation of the Thames,12 the hulks were an emergency measure to cope with prison overcrowding following the interruption to transportation caused by the outbreak of war with America. The London focus of the act is evident in the fact the work took place on the Thames, and the influence of reformist principles can be seen in the fact that prisoners were put to hard labour and subjected to restrictive discipline. The first ships, the Justicia and the Censor, took on their first convicts in August 1776. The hulks were run by contractors, overseen by the Middlesex Justices of the Peace.

    There were difficulties from the start. Crowded and insanitary conditions led to a high mortality rate (from August 1776 to April 1778 176 of 632 prisoners on board died), largely due to gaol fever (typhus).13 Belatedly medical treatment was provided, from 1779 in a separate hospital ship. There were mutinies, and many prisoners escaped from the work parties on shore. Problems with prisoner morale led the authorities to offer pardons to well-behaved prisoners; this practice also addressed the problem of overcrowding.

    Despite attempts to address these problems, the hulks remained crowded and expensive, and in a sense contributed to the very phenomenon of criminal intransigence they were meant to solve. Their presence led to pressure for the resumption of transportation, but even after transportation was resumed the hulks remained, to be used as a place for confining and punishing prisoners prior to the departure of the transport ships. During the first twenty years, 8,000 prisoners spent time in the hulks.

    London Lives 1690 to 1800


  7. mudwerks:

    A picture of life on board Britain’s 19th Century prison ships has emerged with the publication online of details of some of the 200,000 inmates.

    The records outline the disease-ridden conditions on the “prison hulks”, created to ease overcrowding elsewhere. The prisoners included eight-year-old Francis Creed, who was jailed for seven years on HMS Bellerophon for stealing three shillings worth of copper.

    The records, held by National Archives, are published online at Ancestry.co.uk.

    The Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books 1802-1849 include character reports written by the “gaoler”. Creed served his term alongside murderers, thieves and bigamists after being convicted in Middlesex on 25 June, 1823.

    The records provide a fascinating insight into the personalities of many major, and minor, criminals of the Victorian age. Another inmate of the era was 84-year-old William Davies, who was sentenced to seven years for stealing sheep…

     Continue reading »

    Tagged #PRISON SHIP