Thanks to the efforts of 442 contributors the UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 collection is now live on Ancestry to search!
At the time the prisons were so full that temporary prisons were set up on decommissioned naval ships in the harbor – this temporary arrangement ended up lasting for 47 years! (As a side note, this situation occurred again from 1997-2005.) Having prisoners already on ships was also made it convenient for transportation to Australia.
If you find looking at prison records as fascinating as I do take a break from keying and browse or search through the collection. You never know, maybe you’ll find a relative or two.