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Metal jar for tobacco or sugar made in Knockaloe Internment Camp

Date made: 1914-1919

Maker: unknown

Description: A metal jar (sugar or tobacco container?) apparently made from a recycled tin can with crudely applied brass elements and stamped JAMES DUNLOP. Made in Knockaloe for James Dunlop, a local man, a fitness instructor who worked in the censors office. It seems likely that this object was made for Dunlop in the camp workshops by an internee, and possibly bartered for other goods.

James Dunlop appears on the 1911 Census as a 32 year old printer and compositor, living with his parents at 4 Georges Terrace, Douglas. He was born in Glasgow.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. 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.

Materials: brass, steel

Object name: jar

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2013-0051



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