Physician standing next to convict on a bed in the prison hulk Justitia

Attributed to G. Cruikshank by Rex Nan Kivell, Death of a convict on the hulk Justitia  [183-?], nla.obj-135886659

After sentence, some convicts spent time on a prison hulk awaiting transportation. A prison hulk was a decommissioned ship used for housing prisoners. Hulks moored in the Thames, Plymouth Harbour or other ports.

Online

Ancestry.com - Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849

This record set includes lists of prisoners on the hulks. Information about prisoners may include:

  • name
  • date received
  • age
  • birth year
  • date convicted
  • where convicted.

Ancestry.com can be accessed from any PC in the Library via the Library's eResources. You may also be able to access Ancestry.com by visiting your local library.

Microfilm and other resources

Criminal: Convict prisons, miscellaneous registers [HO 9] 1802- 1849

The Prison Hulk Registers and Letterbooks have also been microfiled as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP).

Prison Commission Registers: Index to reels 5971-5991 & Prison books [P Com 2] 1779-1871

Lists of prisoners on hulks are also available in the records of the UK Prison Commision at Prison books [P Com 2] 1779-1871 in the AJCP collection. The records are indexed by name in Prison Commission Registers: Index to reels 5971-5991.

Information in the Prison Books includes:

  • name, age, marital status, number of children
  • ability to read and/or write and trade or profession
  • when received and from which prison
  • place and date of conviction
  • description of crime and previous convictions
  • special remarks and accounts of visits
  • references to Misconduct Book and Governor's Journal
  • when removed and to where.

Accounts of visits can sometimes include names, addresses and ages of family members.

You can view the index and microfilms of the AJCP in the Library's Newspapers and Family History zone. If you can't make it to the Library, you can Ask a Librarian.