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


There were 26 recorded strikes in 1925, spread over 11 prisons. As the tables below show, 15 of the 17 strikes with a known start and end date lasted less than two weeks. In addition, in more than a third of the cases officials did not resort to force feeding. Prisoners refused to give a reason for their strike in 10 out of the 26 cases. 

There is no evidence of a coordinated group strike in 1925. When it came to individual cases, the most active striker was John Kensit, who had been sentenced to 3 years at Parkhurst for stealing. Through the course of 1925 he went on three separate hunger strikes: 12 days as a protest against the "impending punishment for a report against him," followed by a strike of 27 days with no reason given, and finally a strike of unknown length over his prison diet. The record suggests that prison officials grew increasingly less concerned about Kensit as the year progressed. After force feeding him 14 times in 12 days, they fed him only 3 times in his 27 day second strike. Officials did not feed him at all during his third strike.

Another hunger strike in 1924 was that of Frederick James Everard. Everard was arrested for missing payments according to the "Married Woman's Act." Although the exact legislation being referred to is unclear, Britain had passed several acts since the end of the nineteenth century allowing greater access to property for women both during marriage and after divorce. Everard was sentenced to either make up the payments or spend two months in Dorchester. The record suggests he chose the latter, for in January 1925 he went on a three day hunger strike, claiming that he was "suffering from a mode of injustice."

Duration of Strikes

This table includes the 17 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 9 strikes for which the length could not be determined, due to a missing start date, end date, or both.

Notable Strikes, 1925

John Kensit

John Kensit First Strike
John Kensit Second Strike
John Kensit Third Strike

Frederick James Everard

Frederick James Everard