A Hulk (prison ship)


  • Intro

    There was a shortage of prison accommodation in the Victorian era, so long-term prisoners were transferred to provincial prisons, or to the dreaded hulks. The hulks were decommissioned warships anchored in the mud off Woolwich. They were dark, damp and verminous and few prisoners managed to escape. This is a cross-section of a hulk called the Defence, published in Henry Mayhew’s The Criminal Prisons of London, in 1862. Mayhew visited the Defence and an account of his visit can be heard by clicking the Audio tab.


    Shelfmark: 6057.i.7.

  • Audio

    Can't play the file above? Listen to the audio clip here

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