Our history

More than a hundred years of improving children's lives

Barton Camp has been giving children fun and fresh air holidays for more than a century.

Its history started in 1884 when Reverend Uriah R. Thomas founded the Penny Dinner Society (later re-named the Bristol Children's Help Society), offering children an affordable way to eat. The first camp was then set up under Reverend Thomas at Barton in 1887 with the first Barton Camp building opening the following year at a cost of £542. That same year in Bristol, 73,880 half-penny dinners and 57,954 free breakfasts were served by the organisation.

Since those early days, Barton Camp has been used to house evacuees from London during the second World War and has celebrated its centenary with veterans who visited from the 1920s onwards.

Today Barton Camp is run by a small group of unpaid volunteers who work hard to maintain its success and thousands of children come to stay every year to benefit from the very special experience that our splendid facilities offer.