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Living with the Wire

Civilian Internment on the Isle of Man During the First World War

13th October 2022 @ 6:15 pm 7:30 pm

Pen and ink view of the Isle of Man internment camp with German captions

About the October Forum

Mention of the First World War will immediately evoke for many people images of trenches, battle-weary soldiers and poppies. A far less likely image to be evoked is one of thousands of German and Austrian civilians, of all ages and classes, incarcerated behind barbed wire on an island in the middle of the Irish Sea. This though was the reality of war for many of the Germans and Austrians living (or even visiting) Britain in the summer of 1914. The internment of civilian ‘enemy aliens’, most of whom spent some or all of their internment on the Isle of Man, might easily have become a lost footnote in the history of the First World War. Interest though has grown over the years, for academics, local historians and the families of those interned. This talk will look at who some of these internees were and how they lived and coped with ‘living with the wire’ for anything up to 5 years in captivity.

About the Presenter

Yvonne M. Cresswell retired as Curator: Social History at Manx National Heritage (the Island’s national heritage service) in 2021 after 34 years, where she curated the social history collections & National Art Collection. Civilian internment during the two world wars has been a major research topic for most of her career, starting with the exhibition and publication ‘Living with the Wire’ in 1994. Several years spent studying at Leicester University (historical geography, English Local History & Museum Studies) provided the perfect training for her local history work, including civilian internment, on the Isle of Man.


This session will take place via video conference. Please register below.

Access details will be sent on the day via Eventbrite to people who have registered. 

About Vaughan Open Research Forum

Vaughan Open Research Forum is series of talks, workshops and interactive sessions which are open to anyone who is curious and wants to find out more.

Themes for sessions relate to our core teaching topics, arts, humanities, social sciences and counselling, and also discuss adult education and co-operative issues. The Vaughan Open Research Forums take place on the second Thursday of the month.

Living with the Wire

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