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Knockaloe Camp picture frame

Date made: 1915-1918

Maker: Steiner, Otto

Description: A rectangular wooden picture frame, handcarved in bas relief with a domed top with a foliate design in centre. There are draped curtains, cloths down the sides of the frame with a rope, cord (?) held in teeth of lion's head at bottom. The feet of the frame have a small section of foot spliced through middle. The wood appears to have split (a weak point) so extra pieces have been spliced in to strengthen them. The picture frame is unglazed and has a hinged stand at the back so the picture frame can be stood upright on a shelf. The back panel is held in place by brass clips and is made of pine.

The picture frame was handcarved by the donor's father, Otto Steiner, in Knockaloe Internment Camp.

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: 25.5 cm x 18.5 cm x 2.5 cm

Materials: brass, mahogany

Object name: picture frame

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1999-0128/3



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