References on the Penal System in the U.K. in the 19th Century

Note: This is intended to be a growing list of reference material on items related to the Prisons of the U.K. during the 19th Century. Contributions and reviews are solicited and will be acknowledged.

[1] Paul Buddee, The Fate of the Artful Dodger, St. George Books, 125 St. George's Terrace, Perth, Western Australia 6000, ISDN 0 86778 017 7

Buddee writes a story  based on the life of a convict transported to Australia.  This convict was a young person who was processed through the Boys Reformatory at Parkhurst and who later lived and stayed in Australia. The book contains a number of interesting photographs from Parkhurst Prison as well as other archival information. There is interesting detail from Dickens and other sources relating to the life of young children living on their own on the streets of London. The book includes engravings and photographs.

[2] William Derricourt (a.k.a. Day), Old Convict Days, Edited by Louis Becke, New Amsterdam Book Company, New York 1900

Derricourt was convicted about 1837 and sentenced to transportation. He writes of his life story, including childhood, his stay on the hulks and his life as a convict and afterwards in Australia.

[3] Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships 1787 - 1868, Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd. Glasgow,

This is an acknowledged 'classic' on the story of the voyages made by ships from England to Australia in the transportation of convicts. It covers the complete period of transportation with extensive lists of ships, numbers of prisoners, etc. It also includes many engravings of ships and covers the evolution of the transportation process from the time of the earliest, slow shipments which had high mortality rates through to the last of them which were made on high speed frigates with no loss of life.

While apparently very extensive in its treatment of the subject, I found minor differences on one particular voyage which lead me to caution the reader. In particular the Convict Ship Clara is reported to have left London on 11-1-64 (1864) on a 93 day trip to Australia. I have a document showing that the ship was in Portland on 31-1-84, which meant that the actual voyage took at most 73 days. I gather that many if not all ships stopped at Portsmouth and Portland to pick up (some, if not all) prisoners and so the duration of the voyages was often less than that reported.

[4] Anthony Babington, The Power to Silence, Robert Maxwell Publisher, London1968

The book is subtitled "A History of Punishment in Britain". It details punishment as practiced in Britain from medieval times through to the modern age. The change in punishment ranges from the early methods of stocks, hanging and imprisonment through to transportation and the centralized prison system leading to modern methods of imprisonment and probation. Chapter Fourteen, in particular, covers the growth of the Prison System.  The book is dedicated to the Officers of the Probation Service.

[5] Alexandra Hasluck, Unwilling Emigrants, Oxford University Press, London, Wellington, New York, 1959

Hasluck reconstructs the life of a convict based on letters sent to the convict and research in Australia and England. The book includes a bibliography of various references in both countries.

[6] Margaret Beames, The Parkhurst Boys, 1986, ISBN 0 908606 36 2

A children's book on Parkhurst Boys sent to New Zealand

[7] There is an extensive collection of government legislation and reports related to the management of Prisons and Convicts. The list of Government Documents was contributed by J. A. Longbottom.

[8] Author Unknown, Victorian Prison Lives,  Pimlico 1999. First published by Methuen and CO 1985. ISBN number is 0-7126-6587-0.

[9] Michelle Higgs, Prison Life in Victorian England,  Tempus Publishing 2007.