First World War Internment Museum Collections Search of iMuseum

First World War Internment Museum Collections

Posted on 03.04.2023

At the start of 2023 Manx National Heritage added over 270 records (around half with images) from our First World War Internment Museum Collections onto our iMuseum. These records all relate to the material culture within the internment camps on the Isle of Man during 1914-1918.

Here’s what Matthew Richardson, Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage, had to say about this valuable collection:

“The role of the Isle of Man as a centre for civilian internment during the First World War was the most significant aspect of the island’s experience of that conflict. One of the earliest places in the British Isles to receive enemy aliens (of German Austro-Hungarian, or Ottoman birth) was Douglas Camp, where the first prisoners arrived just after the last holiday makers left in September 1914.

Knockaloe Camp, which opened near Peel in 1915, grew to be the largest camp of its kind in the British Empire. The material culture of these camps is of interest to both academics and family historians alike. Craftwork was encouraged in order to counter the effect of boredom and uncertainty on the mental health of the captives, and many fine items of artwork, bonework, woodwork or metalwork are known.

Some of the best items in our collection are:

Click the image to view this object on our iMuseum (1999-0073)

A portrait of Douglas Camp medical officer, Dr Marshall, by Fritz von Kamptz, an interned artist (1999-0073). Many highly skilled professional artists were interned, and they attempted to continue their profession behind the barbed wire fences, using whatever materials were to hand.

Click the image to view this object on our iMuseum (2016-0012)

A wooden rocking doll from Knockaloe (2016-0012). Many toys were made for sale outside of the camp for sale in neutral countries, but few now survive. This came from a Quaker family – the Society of Friends were instrumental in setting up workshops in Knockaloe.

Click the image to view this object on our iMuseum (2002-0075)

A carved wooden nutcracker in the form of a sea captain, from Knockaloe Camp (2002-0075). Aside from Germans resident in Britain, one of the largest groups to arrive at the camps in the early years were the crews of German merchant ships, captured on the high seas.”

You can now find the First World War Internment Museum Collections on iMuseum by clicking here.

Keep a look out for our next Collections News update which will focus on our Second World War Internment Museum Collections.

Katie Clugston
Digital Collections Assistant




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