Search records

First World War internee-made cigarette box

Date made: 1915-1918

Description: A hand-made wooden cigarette box (automatic dispenser) with string banding on top and bottom edge and marquetry designs on each side. The designs on the box are a clockwise triskelles (with hand drawn ink detailing), a horse shoe with a riding crop on either end of box and a horse's head with bridle and details hand drawn in ink.

The cigarette box is missing its wooden base. The cigarette box is very similar, almost identical in design and construction to items made in the Douglas and Knockaloe civilian internment camps during the First World War.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’, with camps at Douglas and Knockaloe. Its biggest camp was known as Knockaloe Camp, Patrick, situated in the west of the Island (other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp). Originally designed for 5,000 people, at its peak it housed up to 23,000 men and as many as 30,000 men may have been interned in total. 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: 9 cm x 10.3 cm x 7 cm

Materials: wood

Object name: box

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2009-0148



Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy