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Conditions on Convict Ships
 

 

Were there any serious accidents on the voyages?

Most of the convicts had never been to sea before.  The were injured in falling down hatchways, and by being struck with ropes and other workings and some fell overboard and were drowned.  Serious injury occasionally occurred by scalding when serving out food.  The guard also suffered accidental injuries from discharge of guns

Select from the following ships to find out more.....

Fortune 1813

Henry 1825

Sir Godfrey Webster

Hercules 1825

Harmony 1827

Princess Charlotte 1827

Competitor 1828 

Dunvegan Castle 1830

Forth 1830 

Roslin Castle 1830

Exmouth 1831 

Buffalo 1833 

Henry Wellesley 1836 

Lord Lyndoch 1838 

Diamond 1838

 

 

Many of the surgeon-superintendents who were employed in the 1820's 30's and 40's believed in the benefit of activity and amusement to ward off disease and boredom. Some of the activies can be found on the pages below:

 

Crossing the equator and theatricals - Speedy 1800; Elizabeth 1818; Eliza 1822

 

Sparring, singing, dancing - See Albion 1823

 

Christmas Day - See Lord Sidmouth 1823  Fairlie 1834

 

Dancing and singing on the Recovery 1823

 

Making Patchwork - Brothers 1824

 

Dancing on the Asia in 1825

 

Exercise and amusements - Eliza 1829

 

Singing on the Sovereign 1829

 

Boxing on the Lady Harewood in 1831

 

Dancing, acting and 'skylarking' on the Surry 1834

 

Dancing on the Lady Nugent in 1835

 

Dancing and marching on the Henry Porcher 1835

 

Dancing and singing on the Eden 1836

 

Dancing and patchwork on the Henry Wellesley 1837

 

Dancing and marching on the Clyde in 1838

 

Singing, dancing and theatricals  Earl Grey 1838

 

Walking on the Portsea 1838

 

Prizes on the Augusta Jessie 1840

 

 

 

 

 

How did people in the colony react when a new convict ship arrived in the colony?

 

See Watkin Tench's description  - Lady Juliana   Harmony 1827

 

 

Were convicts happy to arrive in the colony?-

 

See Lady Kennaway 1836

 

 

 

How long were the convicts held on the ship before being disembarked ?

 

See Bencoolen 1819;  Larkins 1829   Earl of Liverpool 1831;  Bengal Merchant 1835

 

 

 

How did they disembark from the ship?

See Barossa 1839

 

 

 

Were prisoners issued with clothing on arrival?

See Admiral Gambier 1811

 

 

 

What happened to prisoners after arrival?

 

Experiment 1804 

 

Canada 1810

 

Florentia 1828

 

Earl of Liverpool 1831 

 

Fanny 1833 

 

Fairlie 1834 

 

Diamond 1838

 

 

 

 

 

How were the ships kept clean?

 

See Larkins 1817 

 

Grenada 1821

 

Recovery 1823

 

Borodino 1828

 

Bengal Merchant 1836

 

Earl Grey 1838 

 

 

 

How were the vessels rid of vermin?

 

See Alexander 1806

 

 

 

How were the ships kept dry? 

 

Earl Grey 1838 

  

Augusta Jessie 1840

 

 

 

 

 

What clothing did the convicts have when they were embarked? 

 

See Speke 1808 

 

Earl St. Vincent 1818 

 

Elizabeth 1818

 

Daphne 1819

 

Earl St. Vincent 1820

 

Elizabeth 1820 

 

Eliza 1822 

 

Albion 1828 

 

Guildford 1829

 

Clyde in 1838

 

 

Were they given extra clothing on the voyage?

 

Elizabeth 1818 

 

Isabella 1818

 

Recovery 1823

 

 

 

Were they issued with clothing on arrival:

 

Friends 1811 

 

Guildford 1812

 

WORSTED. A species of woollen fabric, being spun wool, which obtained its name from having been first spun at a town called Worsted, in Norfolk, in which the inventor lived - Dictionary of dates, and universal reference By Joseph Timothy Haydn

 

 

 

 

 

What was it like to be imprisoned in Newgate  ?

 

Wanstead 1814 

 

See Convict Ships 1835

 

 

 

Description of Bristol gaol - Hadlow 1818

 

 

 

 

 

What was the prison like at Cork?

 

See Lady Rowena 1826

 

 

What was the prison like at Kilkenny?

 

See Almorah 1824

 

What was their condition when they were taken from the Essex Hulk to the ship?

Bussorah Merchant 1831

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeping conditions

 

See Baring 1819

 

Guildford 1827 

 

Lady Harewood 1832 

 

Earl Grey 1838

 

 

 

How did the convicts embark on the vessel?

 

Select Elizabeth 1818   

 

Earl St. Vincent 1823   

 

Bussorah Merchant 1828

 

 

How were convicts secured when they first arrived on the vessel?

 

Select...... Larkins 1817

 

 

What arrangements were made for water closets?

 

Select...... Baring 1819 

 

Earl St. Vincent 1820 

 

Daphne 1819 

 

Edward 1829 

 

Andromeda 1830

 

Asia 1831 

 

Caroline 1833

 

 

 

How did the men keep clean? 

 

Shipley 1817 

 

Hadlow 1818

 

Earl St. Vincent 1820

 

 

 

Were convicts employed during the voyage?

 

Friendship 1818 (female);

 

Isabella 1818

 

Grenada 1819  

 

 Lord Sidmouth 1819

 

Almorah 1820

 

Adamant 1821

 

Lord Sidmouth 1823 (female);

 

Albion 1823 

 

Almorah 1824

 

Asia 1825

 

Edward 1829

 

Captain Cook 1833  

 

Lord Lyndoch 1838

 

Augusta Jessie 1840

 

 

 

 

 

Which vessels had a high mortality?

 

Select.....

Scarborough 1790

 

 Britannia 1791

 

Britannia 1797

 

Earl Cornwallis 1801   

 

General Hewitt 1814

 

Three Bees 1814

 

Tottenham 1818 

 

Eliza 1828

 

Vittoria 1829

 

Fanny 1833

 

Henry Porcher 1835  

 

Earl Grey 1836 

 

Lord Lyndoch 1838

 

 

 

Burial at sea -

 

Gilbert Henderson 1840

 

 

 

 

 

Did convicts escape either before the ship sailed or during the voyage? -

 

See Lady Juliana 1790 

 

Larkins 1817 

 

Lord Eldon 1817 

 

Earl St. Vincent 1818 

 

Eden 1840 (attempted)

 

 

 

 

 

How were female convicts transported from county gaols to London?

 

See Lord Wellington 1820 

 

Brothers 1824

 

 

 

How were they transported from prison to the ship?

 

Burrell 1832 

 

Elizabeth 1818 

 

Woodman 1823 

 

Forth 1830 

 

Sovereign 1829

 

Roslin Castle 1830

 

 

 

How were they occupied on the voyage to Australia?

 

Brothers 1824 

 

Edward 1829 

 

Sovereign 1829

 

 

Were the female convicts often troublesome?

 

See Friendship 1818 

 

Lord Sidmouth 1823

 

Almorah 1824

 

Sovereign 1829 

 

Surry 1833 

 

Elizabeth 1836 

 

Roslin Castle 1836

 

Pyramus 1836

 

 

Were they given extra rations if they were nursing children?

 

City of Edinburgh 1828 

 

Fairlie 1834

 

 

 

Where did they live when they arrived in the colony?

 

See Aeolus 1809

 

See Alexander 1816

 

Almorah 1824

 

Asia 1830

 

Burrell 1832

 

 

 

 

 

What provisions were given to the convicts -

 

See  Daphne 1819

 

John Bull 1821

 

Edward 1829  

 

Lady Harewood 1832 

 

Planter 1832

 

Fairlie 1834 

 

Bengal Merchant 1836  

 

Roslin Castle 1836  

 

Heber 1837

 

 

What food could they procure at stopovers? -

 

See Diana 1833

 

Lady Kennaway 1836 

 

Earl Grey 1836 

 

Strathfieldsaye 1836 

 

Clyde in 1838

 

 

 

Were sea-board rations supplemented?

 

Bencoolen 1819 

 

Recovery 1823

 

 

 

Was their water supply adequate?

 

See Lord Sidmouth 1819 

 

Grenada 1827 

 

Pyramus 1832

 

Earl Grey 1836

 

Blenheim 1839

 

 

Were the sick convicts given a different diet?

 

See Asia 1831

 

 

 

HULKS

 

 

What were the living conditions Leviathan hulk like ?

 

See the Canada 1819 

 

Lady Feversham 1830  

 

Strathfieldsaye 1836

 

Prison Hulk Report 1838

 

 

 

Illness on Irish hulks -

 

see  Hercules 1830 

 

Asia 1831 

 

Bussorah Merchant 1831 

 

Camden 1831

 

 

What condition were the convicts in when they left the hulks?

 

Camden 1833

 

The hulk Surprise - Sir Godfrey Webster

 

The hulk Captivity - Portland 1832

 

 

 

 

 

Which voyages had very little illness ?-

 

See Almorah 1817 Elizabeth 1818 Guildford 1818;  Bencoolen 1819 Grenada 1819  Tyne 1819Guildford 1820   Lord Wellington 1820Eliza 1822 Guildford 1822;  Henry 1823; Ann & Amelia 1825; Asia 1825Hercules 1825Marquis of Hastings 1827; Asia 1828;   Competitor 1828Phoenix 1828Edward 1829; Governor Ready 1829Princess Royal 1829Sarah 1829;  Sovereign 1829 Southworth 1832; Adrian 1830; Lord Melville 1830Hercules 1830;  Dunvegan Castle 1832Portland 1832England 1835; Strathfieldsaye 1836   Pyramus 1836   Elphinstone 1838;   Augusta Jessie 1840 

 

Which vessels had major illnesses?

 

See Pitt 1792Hillsborough 1799Atlas 1802Glatton 1803; Tellicherry 1806; Three Bees 1814 Surry 1814  Tottenham 1818;  Baring 1819  Almorah 1824Bussorah Merchant 1828Eliza 1828;   America 1829; Lucy Davidson 1829; Vittoria 1829; Burrell 1830  Asia 1833Fanny 1833Heroine 1833;   Waterloo 1833Bengal Merchant 1835; Earl Grey 1836Eden 1836Lord Lyndoch 1838Bengal Merchant 1838Barossa 1839Blenheim 1839

 

 

 

 

 

How did the convicts feel about leaving their country of birth? 

 

Elizabeth 1818  

 

Minerva 1818   

 

Daphne 1819 

 

Prince Regent 1820

 

Eliza 1822

 

Earl St. Vincent 1823 

 

Forth 1830

 

Hercules 1832 

 

Camden 1833

 

 

What happened to the convicts when they were embarked?

 

Canada 1801

 

 

 

 

Where did the Guard for the convicts ships embark?

 

Select..... Earl St. Vincent 1823 

 

Larkins 1829

 

 

Did conflict occur between the Captain of the vessel and Military escort?

 

See Three Bees 1814

 

 

 

What did the military guard do after disembarking from the ship?

 

See Champion 1827

 

Albion 1828

 

 

 

 

 

Scarborough 1790

 

Albemarle 1791

 

Boddingtons 1793

 

Sugar Cane 1793

 

Lady Shore in 1797

 

Barwell 1798

 

Anne 1801

 

Hercules 1802

 

Chapman 1817

 

Tottenham 1818

 

Atlas 1819

 

Daphne 1819

 

Dorothy 1820

 

Isabella 1823

 

Royal Charlotte 1825

 

Burrell 1830

 

Captain Cook 1836

 

 

 

 

 

of military - see Lord Sidmouth 1821  Barwell 1798

 

of female convicts - see Britannia 1797; Friendship 1818; John Bull 1821Lord Sidmouth 1823; Almorah 1824  Buffalo 1833; Diana 1833; Surry 1833Elizabeth 1836Gilbert Henderson 1840

 

- of male convicts - Boddingtons 1793  Britannia 1797  Hillsborough 1799 Shipley 1817 Shipley 1818; Atlas 1819  Globe 1819; Castle Forbes 1820  Dorothy 1820   Guildford 1820  Prince Regent 1821Brampton 1823Recovery 1823; Royal Charlotte 1825;

 

 - vessels where almost no punishment took place - See Almorah 1817Eliza 1822; Edward 1829Captain Cook 1833  Earl Grey 1838  Hadlow 1820

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which ships were quarantined on arrival?

 

Surry 1814

 

Bussorah Merchant 1828

 

Lucy Davidson 1829

 

America 1829

 

Heroine 1833

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Were schools established on the convict ships?

 

Select.......

 

Grenada 1819

 

Tyne 1819

 

Almorah 1820

 

Castle Forbes 1820

 

Dorothy 1820

 

Elizabeth 1820

 

Guildford 1820

 

Eliza 1822

 

Phoenix 1822

 

Lord Sidmouth 1823

 

Brampton 1823

 

Recovery 1823

 

Almorah 1824

 

Henry Wellesley 1837 

 

Earl Grey 1838 

 

Portsea 1838

 

 

 

 

 

To read a description of Portsmouth and the Needles

see Lady Castlereagh

 

 

To find out the length of time between Deptford, embarking convicts and weighing anchor see Lady Feversham 1830

 

 

How long did it take to sail from Deptford to the Cove of Cork

 

Almorah 1820

 

Lord Sidmouth 1821

 

Castle Forbes 1820;

 

 

Where were the convicts embarked from? -

 

Larkins 1817

 

 

How long did it take to sail to Madeira?

 

See Baring 1819

 

 

How long did it take to sail from Cork to Teneriffe -

 

Sir Godfrey Webster

 

 

How long did it take to sail from Plymouth to the Cape?

 

See Burrell 1830

 

 

How long did it take to reach the tropics after leaving England?

 

See Lloyds 1833

 

 

How long did it take to sail to the Cape? -

 

See the Active in 1791

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which vessels had fine weather all the way?

 

Sarah 1829

 

Lloyds 1833 

 

Forth 1835

 

 

 

Which vessels experienced very bad weather?

 

Catherine 1814

 

Competitor 1828 

 

Guildford 1829 

 

Roslin Castle 1830

 

Captain Cook 1833 

 

Hero 1835

 

Charles Kerr 1837