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Knockaloe Camp ship in a bottle

Date made: c.1916

Description: A model of a four masted fully rigged sailing vessel along side a small village, all inside an early 20th century clear glass beer bottle; there are several bubbles in the glass. Five German flags are visible on the ship and elsewhere in the diorama. The model was made by a prisoner in Knockaloe Camp. There are similarities between this model and others in the MNH collections made by Knockaloe internees. The First World War ship models seem to be made in the same type of bottle.

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: 30 x 7 x 7 cm

Materials: glass

Object name: model

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2002-0172



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