The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth

Prison Hulks in Hamaoze

This picture shows just how many prison hulks might be expected to be seen lying along the Hamoaze just off from Devonport Dockyard. The number of hulks increased massively during the American War of Independence until Australia was opened up for transportation. There was then a second surge of hulks during the Napoleonic Wars as accommodation had to be found for French prisoners of war. As the war continued for many years, a more durable solution had to be found with the construction of Dartmoor prison from 1806. It wasn't completed until 1809 by which time the number of hulks could be reduced. However, they continued to be used as holding prisons for non-POWs who had been convicted to transportation.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article

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by Stephen Luscombe