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THE DEFENSE
This is the only known photograph of an English prison hulk. It was taken in 1857 shortly before the Defense burned off the Woolwich docks, bringing the era of the hulks in England to a close. The vessel to the left is the hospital hulk Unite. The Defense had been placed in service at Woolwich in 1850. Before the fire, the convict count had been reduced to 171. All were evacuated safely. Had anything close to her capacity of 400 been aboard, a tragedy could not have been avoided. Unite had been a well regarded frigate in the British navy. Many years later she was to have the dubious honor of being the last of the hulks in English waters. She retained a few "invalids" aboard for about two weeks after the burning of the Defense.