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Hunger Strikes in British Prisons, 1913-1940  > 
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Hunger Strike in British Prisons 1913-1940


There were 74 recorded strikes in 1920, spread over 17 prisons. As the tables below show, of the strikes with a known start and end date, all but two lasted less than 10 days. The most common reason for hunger strikes (7 out of 20) was attributed to the mental conditions of prisoners.

There is no evidence of coordinated group strikes in 1922, in part due to the fact that no prison had more than 3 strikes. One strike representative of those attributed to mental condition was the case of Ernest Reede Hill. Hill was convicted of an unspecified crime and sentenced to 4 months hard labor at Liverpool. On August 16 he began a hunger strike which lasted for 16 days until he was transferred to an asylum. While Hill gave no reason for his strike, officials noted that he suffered from "religious delusions." The record also indicates that officials used an oesophagal tube to force-feed Hill, but does not note how many times.   

Duration of Strikes

This table includes the 17 strikes for which there was a definite start and end date. 

There were 3 strikes for which the length could not be determined, due to a missing start date, end date, or both.

Notable Strike, 1922

Ernest Reede Hill

Ernest Reede Hill