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…
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