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


There were 27 recorded strikes in 1926, spread over 11 prisons. As the tables below show, 17 of the 21 strikes with a known start and end date lasted less than a week. As with the previous year, prison officials did not resort to force feeding for a third of the strikes. Prisoners also refused to give reasons for their strikes in nearly half of the cases (11 out of 27). 

There is no evidence of a coordinated group strike in 1926. In addition, the strikes during this year were fairly typical. Most were carried out by prisoners convicted of crimes such as theft, and reasons for the strikes, when given, generally involved complaints about punishment and prison conditions.

One interesting strike was the case of Samuel Gumbs, who was convicted in Manchester of "False Pretences." He was sentenced to 5 years in Manchester, but on appeal he as able to get his sentence reduced to 18 months hard labor. But while in prison, Gumbs went on a 19 day hunger strike for "not being tried in Scotland during present sentence for offences committed in Scotland prior to present condition." Prison officials force fed Gumbs twice a day.

Duration of Strikes

This table includes the 21 strikes for which there was a definite start and end date. 

There were 6 strikes for which the length could not be determined, due to a missing start date, end date, or both.

Notable Strike, 1926

Samuel Gumbs

Samuel Gumbs