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Knockaloe Camp presentation box

Date made: 1916

Description: A box made in Knockaloe Internment Camp in 1916. The box has a hand beaten and engraved copper panel in the lid with a German inscription. The engraved dedication is to actor Carl Ernst for his 1916 performance in the popular German play, Alt Heidelberg at the Apollo, one of the sprawling camp's numerous theaters. The scene depicts a man and woman with mountains, river, castle, and bridges in the background.

The inscription is 'Gewidmet Herrn Carl Ernst als darsteller des Carl Heinrich v. Sachsen Carlsburg in "Alt Heidelberg" Apollo Theater Knockaloe 1916'.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. Its biggest camp was known as Knockaloe Camp, Patrick, situated in the west of the Island (other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp). Originally designed for 5,000 people, at its peak it housed up to 23,000 men and as many as 30,000 men may have been interned in total. The confinement of the prisoners led to specific behavioural issues known as ‘barbed wire disease’. Receiving its name from the aimless promenading of inmates up and down the barbed-wire boundary, other symptoms included moroseness and avoidance of others. It was decided that providing practical stimulation would help. The Friends’ Emergency Committee (a Quaker organisation) based in Great Britain was invited to the Island from 1915 onwards with the aim of providing books, tools, equipment and materials for the inmates to work and establish workshops.

Measurements: overall: 6.5 cm x 14.5 cm x 13 cm

Materials: copper alloy, wood

Object name: box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2015-0019



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