FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY

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1915
Hunger Strike in British Prisons 1913-1940

1915

There were 40 recorded strikes in 1915, spread over 16 prisons. A large number of the strikes were clustered in the prisons of London, which the map demonstrates. As the tables below show, a large majority of the strikes lasted less than a week, with half lasting four days or less. More than a third of the hunger strikes were attributed to prisoner complaints about their punishment. 

There was no evidence of coordinated group strikes in 1915, but one notable strike was the case of Edmund Knipprath. On July 12, 1915, Knopprath was sentenced to six months hard labor at Pentonville for failing to notify authorities of a change of residence as an Alien Enemy. This was most likely a violation of the 1914 Aliens Restriction Act, which required foreign nationals living in Britain to register with authorities and limited where they could live.

Knipprath began a hunger strike on the day of his conviction, but it lasted only 2 days. Less than a week later he began another strike, which lasted 4 days. He also refused exercise and work. Knipprath listed three reasons for his strikes. First, he was protesting that he was "a Dutch subject not an alien enemy." Second, he claimed that another prisoner had gotten out of prison by refusing food and sought to follow suit. Third, he wanted a trial.   

Duration of Strikes

This table includes the 35 strikes for which there was a definite start and end date. Strikes with a length of "0" indicate the strike started and ended on the same day.

There were 5 strikes for which the length could not be determined, due to a missing start date, end date, or both.

Notable Strikes, 1915

Edmund Knipprath

Edmund Knipprath
Edmund Knipprath