The book provides a comprehensive account of work camp movements in Britain before 1939, based on thorough archival research, and on the reminiscences of participants. It starts with their origins in the labour colony movement of the 1880s, and examines the subsequent fate of labour colonies for the unemployed, and their broadening out as disciplined and closed therapeutic communities for such groups as alcoholics, epileptics, tuberculosis sufferers and the ‘feeble-minded’. It goes on to examine utopian colonies, inspired by anarchist, socialist and feminist ideas, and designed to develop the skills and resources needed for a new world. After the Great War, unemployed camps increasingly focused on training for emigration, a movement inspired by notions of a global British national identity, as well as marked by sharp gender divisions. The gender divisions were further enhanced after 1929, when the world economic crisis closed down options for male emigration. A number of anti-industrial movements developed work camps, inspired by pacifist, nationalist or communitarian ideals. Meanwhile, government turned increasingly to work camps as a way of training unemployed men through heavy manual labour. Women by contrast were provided with a domesticating form of training, designed to prepare them for a life in domestic service. The book argues that work camps can be understood primarily as instrumental communities, concerned with reshaping the male body, and reasserting particularistic male identities, while achieving broad social policy and economic policy goals.
The physical deterioration debate, as well as wider concerns over the poor law’s failure to deal with the sick and infirm, led a number of public bodies to explore the idea of the labour colony as a therapeutic community. The value of the labour colony lay in its combination of physical isolation with ready access to fresh air and plentiful work. As well as being therapeutic, work ensured that the ‘clients’ made an economic contribution to their own upkeep, while isolation served the eugenic purpose of inhibiting breeding. Labour colonies were developed for alcoholics (particularly women alcoholics), epileptics, tuberculosis sufferers, and the ‘feeble-minded’. As a consequence, they became both centres of treatment and research, facilitating the development of expertise among both professionals and specialist volunteers.
The policies of professionalisation in English mental hospitals from 1919 to 1959
therapists, without the materials required for the usual craft work, turned
the patient’s interests to other and what might be termed more mundane but
realistic occupations’ – including semi-skilled war work.32
Among the rehabilitative initiatives for service personnel were new
approaches to organising psychiatric in-patient settings, known as ‘therapeuticcommunities’, which emphasised the flattening of authority hierarchies
within the wards, and so implicitly gave more therapeutic authority to nonmedical staff.33 Additionally, the importance of activity
the projects, representative of different ‘types’ of UG, were observed over a three-year period.
Case study one: therapeuticcommunity garden
Wendy started the garden (infancy) in 1997. She had been working in social
housing in North Hull, dealing with land between residential housing and
garages that was attracting anti-social behaviour. The land was left over from the
shortening of social housing gardens. Concurrently people approached the organisation looking for space to grow food having been unable to get an allotment.
Wendy described,‘when I walked in and I
35 For a critical assessment of the myth of the ‘Japanese Gheel’, see Akira Hashimoto,
‘The invention of a “Japanese Gheel”’.
36 Tsuchiya, ‘Iwakuramura Ryoyo Gaikyo’, pp. 7–8.
37 Eugeen Roosens, Geel no Machi no Hitobito (Japanese translation of Mental
Patients in Town Life: Geel – Europe’s First TherapeuticCommunity (Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 1979)) (Tokyo: Seishin Iryo Iinkai, 1981), pp. 3, 11, 70, 73–4.
38 Okada, Nihon Seishinka Iryoshi, pp. 197–216.
39 Editorial Board of Iwakura Byoin Shi, ‘Iwakura Byoin Shi (1)’ (‘History of Iwakura
public, appears to have lain at
the heart of NAMH’s financial problems. Jonathan Toms advances a different
interpretation, attributing MIND’s adoption of a patients’ rights strategy not
to financial considerations but to a concept of mental health which crystallized in the 1960s, characterized by emotional well-being. Stemming from the
development of the therapeuticcommunity, this approach stressed the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships as a means of securing mental
DESTIGMATISING MENTAL ILLNESS?
health, leading to a rejection of authoritarian
ways of delivering services.
The camps also left a pedagogic legacy. Lingfield, Wallingford
and Hadleigh were particularly important as centres for training
social workers, while the epileptic and tuberculosis colonies served
as training grounds, centres for research and as agencies for the
professionalisation of specialist nurses, doctors and other health
professionals. GF and the social service camps certainly had an
influence on the therapeuticcommunity movement. But it was not
only the young utopian community builders who helped to create
the BBC. Bierer, who was committed to the development of social psychiatry, devoted his energies to extending
psychotherapy, and developing therapeuticcommunities and day hospitals.
Unlike many of his counterparts, Bierer focused his efforts on patients with
severe and long-standing mental health problems.39 As the example of ‘The
Hurt Mind’ series demonstrates, the BBC tended to give greater credence to
psychiatrists who ascribed to a physical illness interpretation of mental distress
and sought to emphasise the curability of mental illness.
‘The Hurt Mind
The working lives of paid carers from 1800 to the 1990s
Anne Borsay and Pamela Dale
), encouraged innovative approaches to staffing
and patient care long before hospital closures.85 Unfortunately the
increasing pace of change meant that many experiments were shortlived and often overlooked by the historiography. Models of nursing
practice pioneered in post-war British therapeuticcommunities were
once praised in the American nursing press,86 but are now just a
footnote to brief discussions about the rise and fall of therapeuticcommunities. These and other innovative programmes deserve more
attention. Val Harrington (chapter 11) explores an important episode
psychiatric approaches including ideas of a ‘therapeuticcommunity’.30
In Scotland, the civil servants who constituted the approved school
inspectorate were particularly keen to advocate the replacement of
older hierarchical forms of governance (the ‘positional’ model), with
more person-oriented approaches in which pupils were involved in
discussion, negotiation and group counselling. They observed some
significant shifting of the ground. Oakbank headmaster, Robert Macleod, had allegedly made himself unpopular with other heads in the