Maggie Butt

Ally Pally Prison Camp

Illustrated book by Maggie Butt, 2011, publisher Oversteps Books.

Alexandra Palace in North London was a ‘concentration camp’ for 3,000 civilian internees from 1915 to 1919.  The prisoners at Ally Pally had English wives and children. Many owned businesses in Britain. Many had left Germany as children themselves, or had been born in England, and spoke no German. Only their passports made them ‘enemy aliens.’

The Quaker Emergency Committee reported: “The bulk of the men were quiet family men, of good character. Many of them had come to England (or their fathers had) to escape military service or the military atmosphere in Germany. They had looked upon England as a land of justice and freedom, and were genuinely puzzled and oppressed by the sense of the personal injustice that was now their lot.”

This book combines their own words from letters and memoirs, with evocative photographs, plus full colour paintings by internee George Kenner and poems by Maggie Butt.

“Through a sensitive choice of tone, detail and accompanying visuals, Maggie Butt generates from these little-known narratives a fresh and distinctive  project, which concerns itself intimately, almost forensically, with the human particulars of isolation and psychological suffering.”  Mario Petrucci. Poet in residence, Imperial War Museum.

“This haunting mélange of words and pictures movingly conveys a forgotten story of hurt and injustice.”  Juliet Gardiner, Historian and Writer.

Buy Ally Pally Prison Camp now for £10 including p&p