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Knockaloe Camp miniature buffet or sideboard

Date made: 1914-1918

Description: A miniature scale model of a full size buffet or sideboard that was being made by the internees for French refugees. The internees designed a set of flat pack furniture that could be built on the Island and sent (flat packed) to France for use by French refugees made homeless by the war. The buffet or sideboard has two hinged doors and two drawers. The scale model has handmade made door hinges that allow the doors to be taken off and metal clips inside can be used to dismantle the model to show how the furniture can be flat packed for transportation. The scale model was made in Knockaloe Camp and was collected by the Society of Friends to show the furniture that was being in the camp (but at full size). The use of a scale model allowed it to be taken to meetings and exhibitions of internee work.

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: 24.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 13 cm

Materials: oak, tin

Object name: model furniture

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: L22135/7



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