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Prison hulks on the River Thames, Life on board

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Convicts being rowed out to a prison hulk.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: PW6122
Description: 'Rogues, vagabonds and beggars' had been transported out of Britain, mostly to America, since the 1600s. Some were sent to the Caribbean for up to twenty-one years and used as virtual slave labour on the plantations. The American Revolutionary War (1775-83) stopped Britain off-loading convicts in America. Instead, old warships were used as prisons, a 'temporary measure' which lasted over eighty years. From the late 1780s, convicts were shipped to Australia in increasingly large numbers until the mid-19th century.
Creator: G. Cooke (engraver): S. Prout (artist): after W.H. Harriot (artist)
Date: 18th century
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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