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Knockaloe Internment Camp ship model

Date made: 1915-1918

Description: Miniature ship model, originally a four funnel vessel (3 of the 4 funnels are missing), with a handwritten label on the base with 'France' written on it. The model is the SS 'France' and was made in Knockaloe Internment Camp by internees, either for or acquired by the donor's grandfather, J. T. Baily, Society of Friends Industrial Advisor at the camp. The model is made of wood, with small pieces of metal to replicate the funnels and superstructure, and is handpainted in black, grey and red.

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 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. On this Committee was James Thomas Baily (1876-1957), a Quaker relief worker and professional carpenter and craftsman. After the outbreak of the First World War, Baily was approached by St Stephen’s House (the headquarters of the Friends’ Emergency Committee) with regards to the perceived problem of civilian internees. It was proposed that Baily would go to the Isle of Man and become an Industrial Advisor, using his skills to create productivity within Knockaloe. Under this scheme there were improvements in living quarters, equipment for games, libraries, gardening, theatre productions and various craft workshops. Baily’s influence stimulated a fairly large-scale production of toys, ornaments and furniture (including furniture created by designs of Charles Rennie Macintosh 1868-1928) with sales in Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Holland, Denmark and the United States. Baily’s role became so essential in the running of Knockaloe that in 1918 he became the Industrial Superintendent, transferring him to the Manx Government Service.

Measurements: overall: 4.3 cm x 18.5 cm x 2.3 cm

Materials: wood

Object name: ship model

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2009-0023/2



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