Governor Arthur was replaced by Sir John Franklin in 1837, and by 1841 pressure was building with more and more female convicts arriving in the colony. Franklin ordered an enquiry into the Factory that year.
The results were horrifying; the women could not work as there was little room to do so, the sleeping quarters were overcrowded and women were sharing hammocks, and congestion in the yards made it nearly impossible for staff to control outbursts.
Meanwhile, in 1841 the arrival of the convict transport vessel the Mary Ann saw 112 of the 124 women on board off loaded and moved to an already very crowded factory. This took numbers to over 500, all crammed into an establishment designed for 200.
In 1842, an overflow establishment was set up at the Brickfields in New Town, however with new arrivals continually flooding in, numbers were rarely below 600 in the factory during this time. Work began on the separate apartments in 1842 and a third of the new cells were occupied by mid-1844.
The dimensions of Yard 3 were similar to that of Yard 1, a number of offices were built along the southern wall and two long double storeyed cell blocks divided the yard into three sections. Each cell block housed 28 cells on both floors making a total of 112 cells each four foot six inches by twelve feet.
Believe it or not, these ‘apartments’ were not necessarily designed to punish the women, but rather isolate and control them through separation.