Pentonville Prison was known as 'The Model' and was built and designed to carry out the separate system and if the model was proved successful, it was planned that it would be applied to all prisons. Andrew was to become part of this experiment in penal reform.
The building of Pentonville began on 10th April 1840 and was completed in 1842, costing £85 000. The first prisoners occupied the prison in December 1842 just less than two years before Andrew's arrival. The Pentonville Prison records record Andrew as being a young man who was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a 'chunky' build, weighing 11 stones 11 pounds (75kg). His occupation was recorded as shepherd and he was said to be of good character. The record also shows that Andrew had some ability to read and write, if not fluently, He had brown hair with dark, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. It was also noted that he had moles above the elbow of his right arm and a small scar between his knuckles. He also had a large mole on his right shoulder and a cut on his right cheek bone. It would be made clear to Andrew on entering Pentonville that he would never see his family again and that following a period of probationary discipline, he would be transported to the colonies.
From the day Andrew entered the prison, he was told that he was entering a new 'career' where he would have the opportunity to learn a new skill, which would enable him to earn a living on his arrival in the colonies. Andrew learned to be a cobbler during his time n Pentonville, a trade he does not seem to have continued in Australia, instead returning to his life as a shepherd.
As well as leanring a trade, Andrew was given instruction on morality based on religious instruction which he was to use as a guide in his future life. Only if the prison governor was satisfied with Andrew's progress and felt that his conduct and character were suitable, would he be given his 'ticket-to-leave' and his freedom in the New World.
If Andrew's behaviour and progress was judged to be 'indifferent' during his period at Pentonville he would recieve a 'probationary pass' given only a proprtion of his earnings while in prison and have certain restraints placed on his liberty following trasportation.
If his behaviour was judged as 'ill,' Andrew would be sent to Tasmania to work in a probationary gang, without wages and deprived of his liberty, living as a convict.
To decide on each man's future, a Board of Commissioners was formed, consisting of two top doctors who would closely watch the progress of each convict. Thankfully, Andrew was deemed to have good character at the end of his period in Pentonville and was given a pardon on 10th June 1846 when he sailed on the Maitland for Australia.
The treatment Andrew endured at Pentonville should never be underestimated. The 'Separate System' caused many convicts to suffer total breakdowns and in the period between 1843 and 1852, 120 prisoners were removed from Pentonville and sent to Bedlam due to being 'insane.'
The cell that Andrew found himself in on arrival at Pentonville was 13.5 feet long, 7.5 feet broad and 9 feet high. It contained an earthenware W.C., a copper washbasin supplied with water, a three-legged stool, a table, a shaded gas-burner light and a hammock for slinging at night which had a mattress and a blanket. Each cell door had an eyelet hole. The copper basin was shaped like a large funnel and had a tap above it. In the corner by the door three triangular shelves housed a spoon, plater, mug and a soap box. The rolled up hammock was kept on the top shelf with its bedding standing on end. On the table, Andrew would have a brown-papered book or periodical from the prison library. On the wall was a poster with 'Prison Rules & Regulations' and a little card with his registration number (in Pentonville Prison no prisoner was known by their name), a note of previous occupation, the term of their sentence and date of conviction.
In the corner, there was a small 'button' connected to a gong in the corridor and, when pressed, made a metal plate outside the door rise at right angles to summon the warder.
Andrew would be known to the warder by the letter of the corridor and the number of his gallery and cell; i.e. D3,4 - Corridor D, gallery 3, cell 4. Andrew wore a brass badge with his number inscribed on it. The warder of each gallery would call Andrew by by his cell number - i.e. '4.'
Each morning, a bell would ring and trolleys would rattle along each walkway carrying breakfast cell to cell. Food was passed through the little trap in each door.
I hope this information gives some insight into Andrew's predicament. The fact that he survived and went on to live a full life in Australia tells much about his strength of character.
More information to follow.