Search records

Knockaloe cigarette box

Date made: 1917

Description: A handmade wooden cigarette box made in Knockaloe Camp. The cigarette box was made in two parts and automatically dispenses cigarettes when the top part is lifted. The box is comprised of a wooden base, cigarette holder and a decorated rectangular wooden cover. The decorative cover has inlaid string banding on the top with a series of decorative panels on each of the sides. The front panel has a marquetry design with ink, colour detailing of the three legs emblem with the Latin motto and crown flanked by two flags (one of which is French). The design on the back of the box is a shield with the initials 'ABC' flanked by two 2 flags (one of which is the Union Jack). The sides are decorated with circular designs with the dates '1914.1915.1916.1917' on one end and 'Knockaloe Isle of Man' on the other. The cigarette box has a mahogany base and one strip of the darker wood decoration on the base is missing.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. They were held in two camps, a requisitioned holiday camp in Douglas and a purpose built camp located at Knockaloe near Peel on the west coast of the Island. These held at their peaks over 4,000 and 23,000 men in some cases for nearly five years between opening in 1914 and final closure in 1919. Over 30,000 men passed through Knockaloe between 1914 and 1917, more than the population of Douglas. Other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp. 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: 9 x 16 x 11.2 cm

Materials: wood

Object name: Cigarette Box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1995-0144



Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy