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Knockaloe Camp marquetry jewellery box

Date made: 1915-1918

Description: A polished wooden jewellery box with a hinged lid and a drop-in tray. The exterior of the box is decorated with marquetry inlaid designs with a string banded border around the lid with a floral design in the centre of different flowers on a single stem. The details of the flowers are hand drawn in black ink. The front panel is a geometric diamond design with the initials 'H.M. or 'M.H.' in the centre. The geometric diamond pattern of marquetry are repeated on the side and back panels with a star pattern in the centre of the back panel. The box has four turned peg feet, three appear to be made of bone and one is made of wood. There are 5 holes (woodworm) in the base. The box is lined with brown velvet and contains a drop-in drawer with four compartments, one of which has a hinged lid. The drop-in drawer is lined with brown velvet and the lid has a marquetry design of pansies (brown and red flowers) with 'Knockaloe' on a central panel. The drawer has contrasting string banding around the top edge.

The box belonged to Thomas Joshua Dodd, who employed internees at the saw mill in Peel. It is one of a group of items that were given to him as presents by the internees at the end of the war.

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: 14 cm x 30.5 cm x 21.5 cm

Materials: brass, velvet, wood

Object name: jewellery box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2003-0339/1



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