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Douglas Camp jewellery box

Date made: 1916

Description: A handmade wooden cupboard, cabinet with a hinged front door and a decorative front panel with bas relief hand carving. The front panel is a pierced carving of stems and berries (a foliate design) backed with a darker panel of wood to highlight the carving. The hinged door is flanked by two turned dark wood columns (the right hand column is loose). The cabinet has a heavy plinth base with a concealed drawer (a slide-in hidden compartment). The cabinet has deep top section which contains a concealed compartment, which is accessed by a hidden mechanism/ catch inside the cabinet. The brass mechanism releases a catch so the lid can be lifted revealing a padded pin cushion on the inside of the lid. The buttoned, upholstered pin cushion is covered with blue, purple shot silk and has matching fabric covered buttons. The compartment contains a drop-in wooden tray lined with the same blue, purple shot silk and matching fabric covered buttons. Inside the compartment holding the drop-in tray is the burnt, pyrography inscription 'Angef.vom Kriegsgefangenen No. 1158. Douglas-Camp. I.o.M. 1916'. The top compartment contains two glass headed pins and part of the moulding which has broken of the right hand side of the cabinet, the veneer on this side of the cabinet is loose and is missing behind the column.

Internee no.1158 at Douglas Internment Camp was Karl Lindner, part of the initial September, October 1914 intake into Douglas Civilian Internment Camp and he was transferred to Ripon on 25 January 1919. It is assumed that wood carving was done by Otto Steiner (donor's father) and the box (or parts of the box) by Karl Lindner (internee no.1158).

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: Whole: 28 x 19 x 15 cm

Materials: brass, mahogany, silk

Object name: jewellery box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1999-0126



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