The centre has been created in the old Patrick village schoolrooms, a very pretty building in a beautiful setting, beside the old churchyard and with lovely views out across the countryside.
The exhibition space is very well presented and tells the story of how and why the camp was built and also some of the stories of the individuals who were interned there, and some of those guarding them and caring for them too.
This is from the centre's information about the camp...
The first 200 internees arrived on the Isle of Man in September 1914 for internment in Cunninghams Camp, Douglas, however following a riot in Douglas camp leading to trhe death of 5 internees due to overcrowding and the poor quality of the food, Knockaloe Moar farm, a former training camp for Territorial troops, was identified as and eventually became the largest internment camp of WWI. The first of the civilian male internees arrived on 17 November 1914 and ultimately the internees were of various nationalities including German, Austrian and Turkish. Knockaloe Camp ultimately held “nearly 24,000 prisoners in 23 compounds inside barbed wire, with 4,000 old soldiers acting as armed National Guard, and 250 civilians attending to their wants and comforts…..The camp at Knockaloe was three miles in circumference; 695 miles of barbed wire surrounded the compounds” Samuel Norris “Manx Memories and Movements”.
It was interesting to discover that two reasonably well known names were associated with the camp.
Josef Pilates (an internee) is said to have developed his method of fitness from working with patients in the hospital, taking the springs from the beds to assist in the patients’ exercises.
Archibald Knox, the Manx born primary designer for Liberty's, worked there as the Parcel Censor from November 1914 to October 1919.
After looking around the exhibits we wandered outside to look at the seven Muslim graves, for the Turkish (Ottoman aliens) who had been interned in the camp.
Across the road is the entrance to Knockaloe Farm, once the camp and now green fields.