The Q-Camps were two separate experimental communities set up at Hawkspur Green, Essex by a group of Quakers led by the child psychiatrist, Marjorie Franklin.
The first Q-Camp opened in 1936 and catered for young men (around the ages of sixteen and eighteen) who were at risk of serving custodial sentences and were generally seen to be 'maladjusted'. The Camp Chief was David Wills, himself a Quaker and life-long associate of Marjorie Franklin. Staff volunteers including Arthur 'Bunny' Barron who would also became a close associate of Franklin's. The Camp closed in 1940 following the outbreak of war in Europe.
The second Q-Camp opened in 1944. This time the provision was aimed at younger boys who were seen as 'disturbed' or 'delinquent' and therefore could not be place with families in the Government's evacuation scheme.
The second Q-Camp was self-governing and democratic. As such, both children and adults had a shared responsibility to run the camp and meet the basic needs of the community such as cooking and cleaning. it was hoped that by being given this freedom and responsibility, the children would self discipline.
Franklin, who personally vetted the children and funded the experiment, appointed Arthur 'Bunny' Barron as Camp Chief. Notable staff volunteers included Chris Beddell who in later life would become an authority on therapeutic work in a residential setting.
The Home Office and Probation Service wrote damning reports about the cleanliness of the second Q-Camp and questioned the success of Barron's methods throughout 1945. However it was a significant fire and the absence of planning permission that eventually led to the camp's permanent closure in 1946.