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Friday, February 24, 2012

Prison hulks (UK)

Prison hulks (UK)In 1776 a new act of parliament was introduced to 'Authorise for a limited time, the punishment by hard labour of offenders...raising Sand, Soil and Gravel from...the River Thames'. Soon after, the first floating prison, the hulk Justitia, was brought into service. The first of over 50 such vessels, this 'temporary expedient' was to last for almost a century. This talk builds on an earlier lecture 'From crime to punishment: criminal records of our ancestors from the 18th and 19th centuries' concentrating on the various records created that capture the dreadful reality of life on board the hulks for the men, women and children detained on them. Jeff James is Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives. Jeff has an MA in History from the University of Hertfordshire and has a particular interest in 18th and 19th century crime and poverty. His MA dissertation 'Pardon Refusers (1776-1815)' focussed on the fate of 50 hulk prisoners who refused the offer of a royal pardon at the turn of the 19th century

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