Search records

Knockaloe Camp bell pull

Date made: 1914-1918

Description: A bell pull with a brass bell-shaped weight at one end and a length of red and green handwoven braid for the bell pull. The braid has a repeating chevron pattern woven into it and 'K II 6/9' has been written in pencil on the bottom of the bell, which probably relates to it having been made in Camp II. The bell pull was made in Knockaloe Camp and was collected by the Society of Friends as an example of the ingenuity of internees in making objects from scrap materials and with limited facilities.

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 organization) 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: 7.5 cm x 138 cm x 7 cm

Materials: metal, textile

Object name: bell pull

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: L22135/1



Optional, not displayed

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