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   Back to The National Dock Labour Scheme and labour relations after 1945

Two convict hulks moored at the quayside steps.

Two convict hulks moored at the quayside steps.
Two convict hulks moored at the quayside steps.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: PX3785
Description: This drawing depicts two convict hulks, one of which is thought to be HMS 'Retribution'. The hulks were ships which were no longer seaworthy and commonly had their masts reduced or removed. They were introduced in the early 1770s, when an attempt was made to alleviate the pressure on prisons and they served as a cheap alternative to building more prisons on land. They were first used on the Thames, but others were soon moored in Langstone and Portsmouth Harbours. The conditions on board the hulks were unheatlhy and overcrowded, with little or no ventilation since the ports on the landward side were boarded over as a deterrent against escape.
Creator: John Grieve
Date: c.1822
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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