GRTHM magazine 2009

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Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Issue 3

June 2009

From Cornwall to Cumbria, your guide to Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Places to go and things to do to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture

The hidden history of Europe’s largest and most misunderstood ethnic group

Celebrating over 500 years of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture

Count us in

In 2011, the national census will include the identities of Gypsies and Travellers for the very first time, making life easier for Gypsy and Traveller family historians and the government. But is it really time for Gypsies and Travellers to stand up and be counted, wonders Jake Bowers? When it comes to numbers, Gypsy and Traveller people can be a little jumpy. With a past that includes genocide and ruthless persecution, we know that being able to identify Gypsies has made life easier for executioners, Nazis and others who simply want less Gypsies and Travellers around. As a result, being invisible isn’t just valued, it is woven into Gypsy and Traveller culture.

But if staying hidden helped us survive, it’s also helped hide our history and culture. As anyone researching their Gypsy or Traveller family tree will tell you, we’re hard to find in the history books. If you’re looking for your Gypsy ancestors, you’d be better off looking for “pea-picker”, “hawker” or “pedlar” in the census returns that record the British populations than Romany Gypsy or Irish Traveller. To this day, the British Gypsy travlr Ad count 1/5/09 10:14 Page 1 government doesn’t Gypsies and Travellers, but our caravans, every January and July.

But on March 27th 2011, all that will change forever when the national census has the category Gypsy/Irish Traveller. On that day the true number of Gypsies and Travellers in Britain may finally become visible. Or at least that’s what Helen Bray of the Office for National Statistics hopes. She has recommended that of the 25 new groups being considered for the next census, only Gypsy/Travellers and Arabs will no longer have to describe themselves as “other”. But what’s in it for Gypsies and Travellers?

Services suited to Traveller needs

“Firstly, it’s about making sure that Gypsies and Travellers become more visible so that services can be suited to your needs,” says Helen. She says the information will lead to a “virtuous cycle” in which Britain becomes more aware of our community and then does more for it. But can she understand the fear that knowledge about the Gypsy and Traveller community may lead back to a vicious cycle of persecution. Will those who declare who they really are be safe?

An image of a census enumerator visiting a Gypsy encampment in 1901. “I have to stress that the information about your background will not be made publicly available.” Says Helen, “The information will only be used to show the size of the Gypsy and Traveller community.”

Confidential Information

She points out that all of the census forms will be kept secret until they are released onehundred years later in 2111, so even our ancestors will benefit from knowing who and where we were. In the meantime, the Office for National Statistics is keen for all Gypsies and Travellers to take advantage of the new opportunity to declare who they really are.

For information on how to find your Gypsy and Traveller ancestors, as well as plenty of other interesting information visit:

Sussex Police are proud to support the Gypsy Roma Traveller Month We want Sussex Police to reflect the diverse population it serves and we are interested in recruiting people who reflect the makeup of our communities. We are committed to a positive action recruitment plan which works by actively encouraging individuals from under-represented groups to apply - as well as supporting them through the selection process. To view all our current vacancies visit our website at 2

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Gypsy Roma Trav


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Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH

June 2009

Another Month to Remember… Britain’s 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have lived, worked and oma raveller travelled throughout BritainG forypsy over 500 R years, yet weThave been almost entirely written out of British history. Go to most museums, libraries and HISTORY MONTH

June 2009

schools and nothing about our history and culture is kept or taught. The result is a widespread ignorance about who we are, which sometimes turns to hatred, fear and misunderstanding. In schools children learn more about the Romans, Vikings or even fairies than they do about our cultures and what we have contributed to this world.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month aims to change that. So this June, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are coming together, with central government backing, to continue the long overdue task of educating the British public about who we are and where we come from. Why Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month is needed We’re doing it for one simple reason: If people do not realise that we were an important part of Britain’s past, they will never accept us as crucial part of Britain’s future. This magazine has been produced to publicise the events that are going on across England as part of the country’s second national Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. From cover to cover, from Cumbria to Kent, it is packed with the events, products and articles you need to celebrate the survival of Europe’s largest and most misunderstood ethnic minority. Copies of previous magazines as well as films and radio can also be found online at Cover Images: Gypsies and Travellers celebrate history month at Worcestershire County Museum. Vardo image from the turn of the century. Reproduced with kind permission of The Special Collections and Archives Division of the University of Liverpool. This image is protected by copyright and is published by kind permission of the copyright holders.

Reserve Av oi future Missindg Out copies of GRTHM Magazine

Inside this issue

Gypsy Roma Traveller magazine is packed with the events and issues that make up Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month. This year 23,000 free copies of the magazine have been distributed in late May as a supplement to Travellers Times magazine.

Count us in


What’s going on in the South East Region


What’s going on in the London Area


Common Law


What’s going on in the East Region


Bob’s Our Uncle!


What’s going on in the East Midlands Region


Poetry in Motion


Be a Life-long Learner


Storytelling Competition


What’s going on in the North East Region


Black is Back


Lord of the Rings


What’s going on in the North West Region


Rush copies hot off the press to:

Lives in the Landscape



From 2011 the national census will include Gypsies and Travellers.

The effect of enclosures on the Gypsy and Traveller people and life in the countryside.

Writer, publisher, educationalist Robert Dawson has done so much for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

Cambridgeshire Romany writer Kathleen Cunningham is continuing the long Gypsy tradition of capturing the past in poetry. The tradition of learning throughout life is alive, well, and being encouraged by the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group. Engage your imagination and show-off your storywriting skills

Serbian Romany band KAL are visiting the UK this June. Ringmaster Robert Gordon reveals the Romany contribution to the big top across Europe.

The English landscape boasts hundreds of Romany Roads and Gypsy Lanes, powerful evidence that Gypsy and Traveller families have been part of England for centuries.

Due to the continued uncertainty of the future of Travellers Times magazine, we have developed a subscription system to guarantee the distribution of the next issue of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month magazine in May 2010. So, if you are a supporter of Gypsy History Month, or would simply like to read another copy of this magazine please consider a supporter’s subscription to Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month magazine. Ensure you get a copy by reserving an issue and take advantage of discounted fees for larger quantities. Your contribution in reserving a copy will be crucial in helping us distribute the next issue of this magazine in May 2010. Individual (1 copy) ............................... £5.00 Group (up to 20 copies) ................. £50.00 Corporate (up to 50 copies) ..... £100.00 Return the coupon below with the appropriate fee or invoicing details to: The Gypsy Media Company Ltd, PO Box 313, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 9EW

Please reserve me 1 10 50 copies of future issues of GRTHM Magazine



Address: ........................................................

What’s going on in the West Midlands Region



Down Memory Lane



An extract from Maggie Smith-Bendell’s forthcoming book “Our Forgotten Years” where she recalls a typical spring day.


What’s going on in the South West and Wales


Ticket to Ride


This summer the responsibility of horse-owners increases with the need to get all horses micro-chipped.

Other events were being confirmed as the magazine went to press. See our website at for up to date details.

The Gypsy Media Company


Postcode: .................................................... Contact (telephone number or email): .......... ........................................................................... ........................................................................... ...........................................................................


National Association of Teachers of Travellers + Other Professionals


Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, What’s going on in the East Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, South East Region Thames Valley and Oxfordshire The region that’s home to the second largest population of Gypsies and Travellers in England has everything from the Derby to a talent contest this month. June 6-7

June 14

What: Epsom Derby. One of the biggest horse racing events in Britain with a long Gypsy history and big Gypsy attendance. There is evidence that Gypsies lived in the woodland on Epsom Downs in the early 1500s. The two day festival of horse racing dates back to 1780. Where: Epsom Racecourse, Surrey, Epsom Downs, Epsom, KT18 5LQ

What: Sussex Gypsy Film Festival ‘When the Road Bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan’, and extract of ‘Coming and Going’ new film by East Sussex Traveller Education Service. Where: Duke of Yorks Cinema, Preston Circus, Brighton BN1 4NA Contact: Friends, Families and Travellers Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG 01273 234 739

June 20 What: Gypsy and Traveller History Day featuring wagons, horses, music, history and photos, flowers, peg making, and food. An archive of photos and Derby memorabilia, with the Romany & Traveller Family History Society and other researchers helping people trace their connections. Where: Bourne Hall, Spring Street, Ewell, KT17 1UF Contact: 020 8394 1734

June 21

Not to be missed … Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends Described as “The Buena Vista Social Club for Gypsy music” by the Cinematic Intelligence Agency. “It captures the spirit of an amazing musical culture and the heart of the musicians and singers who express it”.

What: Poster Competition and Scrapbook (with Traveller Families) prize giving event. Where: Primrose Hall, Ash Hill Road, Ash, Surrey, GU12 5DP Contact: Jo Packman 07901 513652 Lesley Telford-Gillies 07769 642053

June 27 What: “Travellers Got Talent” Singing and Music Contest between Hampshire and Surrey Gypsies and Travellers. Where: Hartley Wintney, Hampshire Time: 7.00 to 9.30pm. Auditions for contestants 2 weeks before (dates to be confirmed). Contact: Diana Stevens Hart Voluntary Action 01252 815652

July 4-5

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Epson Derby: This amazing photograph is simply entitled at “The Derby“

What: Gypsy wagon display at Porkfield Primary school fete, Chichester. Contact: Sheila O’Shea 01903 839271 sheila.o’

This film shows a dazzling display of the musical world of the Roma, juxtaposed to the real world they live in. This rich feature documentary celebrates the luscious music of top international Gypsy performers and interweaves stirring real life tales of their home life and social background. Shot by documentary icon Albert Maysles, the film records the Gypsy Caravan concert tour created by the World Music Institute. Starring musicians from Fanfare Ciocarlia, Taraf de Haidouks, Maharaja, Antonio el Pipa & Esma Redzepova.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

is proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Achieving safer and more sustainable communities

The Travellers Aid Trust The Travellers Aid Trust is the only independent UK grantmaker specifically dedicated to supporting the Gypsy and Traveller community. We currently offer small grants of up to £250 under our Violet Clegg Fund programme for individuals and families experiencing exceptional hardship or individuals, groups and sites for community benefit. Give us a call, drop us a line or visit our website to find out more about what we do. PO Box 16, Llangyndeyrn, Kidwelly SA17 5YT Telephone/Fax: 01269 870 621


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine We have a diverse range of Police Staff (Civilian) career opportunities at Surrey Police. Go to for more information on current vacancies and details on how to apply. Application support is available from your local Jobcentre Plus or for any DDA enquiries please call Remploy on 0845 845 2211. Surrey Police will not tolerate any form of discrimination. If you cannot promote dignity, respect and equality, please don’t apply.

What’s going on in the London Area Once again London’s contribution to this year’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month reflects its position as an international crossroads. Throughout June What: Passing Places exhibition. Passing Places is an exciting exhibition focusing on Gypsy, Roma, Traveller history, culture, lifestyles and traditions. When: Monday 1st June to Monday 15th June Where: Hackney Central Library, First Floor, Technology and Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ Then: Wednesday 17th to Tuesday 30th June Where: Homerton Library, Homerton High Street, London, E9 6AS

June 1 What: National Launch of GRTHM.

June 4 What: Launching Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month. Where: Hackney Technology and Learning Centre,1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ Time: 6.00 to 7.30pm Contact: Hackney Museum 0208 356 3500

June 6 What: Travellers Past, Present and Future Q&A session. Where: Hackney Central Library, First Floor, Technology and Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ. 0208 356 3000 Time: 6.00 to 7.30pm

June 8-21 What: Exhibition on Traveller history and culture Where: Sutton Central Library, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 Contact:, 0208 648 3267

June 11 What: KAL – Rock and Roma concert. Includes first UK screening of a documentary on Saban Bajramovic - the late, great Serbian Gypsy singer. Where: The Romanian Restaurant, 32 Old Bailey, The City, London EC4. Time: Doors open 7.00pm

June 12 Where: Portcullis House, London, SW1A 0PW Time: 2.00pm Contact: Patricia Knight 0785 902 6996

June 1-5 What: Exhibition on Traveller history and culture. Where: Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, Surrey Contact:, 0208 648 3267

What: Pavee Céilidh – Irish Traveller Song and Dance. Contact: Irish Travellers Movement in Britain, 0207 607 2002 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Open Day, featuring dance, storytelling, film screenings. Where: West Norwood Library, Norwood High Street, London, SE27 9JX Contact: Sandra Davidson, 0207 926 8092

Bourne Hall Museum’s Gypsy Day 9.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday June 20th.

June 14 What: KAL – Rock and Roma concert. Where: Celebrating Sanctuary Festival, Coin St, South Bank, London

June 16 What: Here I am! Exhibition explores what’s important in the lives of local Traveller and Roma children and their heritage. Where: Hackney Central Library, First Floor, Technology and Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ Time: 3.45 to 5.00pm What: Launch of Alan Gibbon’s Book launch of ‘Moving On’ based on a series of conversations with Irish Traveller children in Hackney. Open to all. Free refreshments. Where: Hackney Central Library, First Floor, Technology and Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ Time: 6.45 to 8.15pm

June 17 What: Living, Working and Learning Together Conference: Gypsy Roma Travellers in Lewisham. Where: Civic Suite Lewisham Town Hall SE6 4RU Time: 9.30am to 3.00pm Contact: Andy Thomas. 0208 314 6000

June 19 What: London Gypsy Orchestra concert. Where: Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road, London SE3 9RQ Time: 8.00pm. Doors open at 7.30pm Contact: Hilary Dowber 0208 314 6477

June 19 What: Irish Traveller entertainment - live music, poetry & dance. Presented by ‘Shishe Gawth lyitchen’ an evening of fun to celebrate Irish Traveller music and culture. Time: 7.00 to 9.30pm Where: Homerton Library, Homerton High Street, London, E9 6AS 0208 356 3000

June 20 What: Lewisham Irish Community Centre Music Event. Where: Lewisham Irish Centre, 2a Davenport Road SE6 Contact: Brenda Downes

June 23 What: Roma Gypsy Survival Strategies Seminar. Where: University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, London W1G 0BJ Time: 11.15am to 7.00pm Contact: Camilla Palestra (0)20 7514 1878

June 25 What: Southwark Travellers Action Group Launch of Travellers book ‘ History & Identity’ featuring Roma band and 50 piece multi-faith choir. Where: Peckham Settlement Centre, SE15 Contact:

June 30 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History and Culture conference. Where: Irish Centre, Pretoria Road, London N17 Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm Contact: Diane Davidson 0208 809 8346

July 1 What: Young Roma Awareness Seminar. Where: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, The County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB Time: 10.00am to 2.00pm Contact: Dada Felja 0207 511 7343

September 13 What: London Gypsy Orchestra Community Music Event. 40 piece orchestra with “fiery fiddling, vibrant strings, mandolins, accordions, voices, horns and more “. Where: September Street, Gabriel’s Church Hall, Aldersbrook, Wanstead, London E12 5DY

Going to be missed …?

Private past, public future? The credit crunch is hitting Gypsy and Traveller heritage hard. Jake Bowers reveals how a lack of government support has meant its getting harder to see Gypsy and Traveller heritage up close. Gypsy and Traveller history and culture is often completely missing from public museums, which means it has often been best preserved by private collectors. But this year two of the country’s best private collections of Gypsy history have closed.

Come to Bourne Hall Park and see traditional waggons with demonstrations of cookery and crafts … and hear stories of the old times. There will be an exhibition and a chance to consult the Museum’s archive, which has many photos of local Gypsy families and memorabilia of Derby Day. The Romany & Traveller Family History Society and other researchers will be here too. Gypsy Day is a project generously supported by Surrey Heritage, SCC. Bourne Hall is at Spring Street, Ewell, Surrey KT17 1UF. For further details contact Jeremy Harte: Telephone 020 8394 1734 Email

In March, the entire contents of the Paulton’s Park Romany Experience in the New Forest was auctioned off in Reading. Desperate attempts to preserve the entire collection failed when no public body would step into to save it. On the day of the auction, money was also in short supply as many of the lots went for less than half of their estimated value. The collection is now split up and in private ownership behind closed doors. The greatest cost, however, will be met for years to come as thousands have lost the opportunity to learn about Gypsy and Traveller heritage in the New Forest. In May, Henry and Paula Elliott, owners of the Romany Life Centre in Cranbrook, Kent also decided to close their amazing private museum and café for good. After 6

years of planning struggles, but thousands of amazed visitors, the museum is now no longer open to the public. Those wishing to buy everything from a 22 foot Vickers chrome caravan to horse harness and all other kinds of Gypsy and Traveller memorabilia had better get in touch quickly because everything must go. Call Henry or Paula Elliott on 01580 715825. We wish them all the best for the future.

Gone for good? One of the wagons auctioned off by Paulton’s Park


Bob’s Our Uncle

The story of Britain’s Gypsy and Traveller communities has fascinated hundreds of writers and artists over the centuries, but while many may have written about us, few have done so much FOR us as Robert Dawson. He modestly describes himself as a “writer and educationalist”, but in reality his tireless writing and activism on behalf of the community has actively preserved and celebrated Gypsy and Traveller heritage for ever. As an educationalist he’s not only preserved the knowledge that makes up the Gypsy and Traveller community’s family silver, but provided a trophy cabinet for it and made it shine. Although not from the Gypsy or Traveller community itself, he is respected by the community in much the same way as any senior Gypsy or Traveller man would be. And the respect clearly goes both ways.

Robert’s latest publication contains beautiful images collected throughout his lifetime

“I have the honour to be president of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society, am a member of various Romany and Traveller societies and organizations including the Essex based Gypsy Council, and last year was given a life-time achievement award at the Pride Not Prejudice conference, an honour which meant a huge amount to me,” says Bob. His website lists some of the huge collection of books, postcards, games and reports he’s put together about the community. For Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month 2009, Bob has distilled his great knowledge into an educational pack for youth groups and schools. From looking at the diversity of Britain’s travelling people, through relationships with the state and the church, to more recent history the pack cuts through the myths about Gypsies and Travellers like a sword. Packed with some of the beautiful pictures and illustrations he’s spent a lifetime collecting, it provides exactly the long view of Gypsy and Traveller history that Gypsy, Roma Traveller History Month is intended to provide. The pack is the latest in a lifetime of publishing and part of a much longer effort by non-Gypsy people to promote understanding of the Gypsy and Traveller community. Bob first became interested in the community at the age of 11 and met Dora Yates, secretary of the Gypsy Lore Society in his teens.

La Tierra: Flamenco Dancing

La Tierra provide performances at various venues including festivals, private functions and regularly host workshops and classes We also perform Flamenco montado (choreographed pieces) In the East & West Midlands Contact 8

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

He says: “She was one of the best gorjer (non-Gypsy) pioneers and supporters and ambassadors of British Travellers. We remained in correspondence until shortly before her death. I was for some time the youngest ever member of the Gypsy Lore Society. I admired and respected her greatly and, years later, many Gypsies spoke to me about her. She was deeply loved by British Gypsies all over, commonly called ‘The Rawni’ (the Lady) or ‘Beebi Dora’ (Aunt Dora).”

Though he’d probably be uncomfortable with any comparison, Bob Dawson’s work is now held in equally high esteem by today’s Gypsies and Travellers. So if you’re looking to share the real story about Gypsies and Travellers this Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, Bob Dawson isn’t just your man, he’s also your uncle! For contact details see the advert below

Robert Dawson Publications

Gypsy/Traveller history books, postcards and school packs Including an education pack for youth groups and schools created specially for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Books on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture, education, children, language and much more …

Request a list (Postal only) : 188 Alfreton Road, Blackwell, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 5JH. 01773 812 202

South Humberside, What’s going on in the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, East Midlands Region Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Exhibitions, storytelling and performance and days out in the East Midlands. The region is home to some of the most ornate collections of Gypsy culture. June 15 What: Spirit of the Peaks. Gypsy storyteller Sandy Townsley tells an amazing story of Jack’s quest for his bride as he is transported – like something from Dr Who from John O’Groats to Land’s End – and beyond to the End of the World. This amazing story is itself a combination of many familiar stories. Where: Boat Inn, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3QF Time: 7.30pm Contact: Graham Langley 01629 826 939

June 21 What: Spirit of the Peaks. Gypsy storyteller Sandy Townsley tells an amazing story. See June 15 entry for more information. Where: Gothic Wharf, Cromford Mill near Matlock, DE4 3RQ Time: 3.00pm Contact: Graham Langley 01629 826939

June 30 What: Traveller Information Fayre. To celebrate the history and culture of Traveller groups and to be a platform for travelling families to discuss their needs with service providers and policy makers. Where: Aylestone Leisure Centre, 2 Knighton Lane East, Leicester, LE2 6LU Time: 10.30am to 6.30pm Contact: 0116 232 3232

that go into making Royal Crown Derby so special.

Gordon Boswell Romany Museum

In Spalding, Lincolnshire, The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum houses a unique collection of superb traditional Romany horse-drawn Vardos (caravans), carts and harness as well as the largest collection of Romany photographs and sketches covering the last 150 years. Whilst there, experience a Romany day out in a horse-drawn Romany Vardo and enjoy a meal cooked over a traditional Romany stick fire in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside. Or enjoy a carriage drive for an hour or two, stepping back into a slower way of life. Contact: Gordon Boswell Romany Museum, Clay Lake, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 6BL 01775 710 599

In June, the opening Times of the visitor centre are: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm. Visit the museum, factory tours, factory shop and restaurant for a great day out Contact: The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Co Limited, 194 Osmaston Road, Derby, Derbyshire DE23 8JZ 01332 712 800

A unique collection of superb traditional Romany horse-drawn Vardos (caravans), carts and harness.

Royal Crown Derby Visitor Centre Royal Crown Derby china is known and collected throughout the world, but is particularly prized by Gypsy women. The Royal Crown Derby Visitor Centre has been created to provide an insight into the traditions, the history and the skills

Royal Crown Derby china is prized by Gypsies and Travellers

Moving Surrey Forward A new training DVD produced by Surrey Police and the Gypsy Media Company Ltd. means that Surrey Police will be one of the first forces in Britain to train all of its 4,000 staff in Gypsy and Traveller awareness.

Gypsies and Travellers:

Moving forward

The package can be ordered from: The Gypsy Media Company Ltd PO Box 313 Hastings TN34 9EW Tel: 07966 786242

The package called “Moving Forward” includes specially commissioned films, interviews, fact sheets and training exercises in order to educate as many people as quickly and effectively as possible about Gypsies and Traveller history, culture, issues and potential resolutions. PC John Hockley works at Cranleigh Police station in Surrey and has helped establish neighbourhood watch schemes on two of the five Gypsy and Traveller sites in his local area. His county is also home to over 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers, making the community probably Surrey’s largest single ethnic minority group. “The fact is that there is still a vast amount of ignorance about Gypsies and Travellers across many public sector organisations,” says John. “So we’ve worked closely with the community to produce a training package that can be used to educate all public sector staff as quickly as possible.” The package is also being promoted by Warwickshire Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland who introduces it by saying that: “Gypsies and Travellers are on the receiving

end of a casual racism that would be completely unacceptable if it were applied to any other ethnic group.” He continues: “Gypsies and Travellers deserve our support and protection. My hope is that as a result of this training programme you’ll be able to better engage with the law abiding majority of Gypsies and Travellers.” The Moving Forward DVD based training programme can be used independently by any public, private or voluntary sector organisation wishing to give their staff Gypsy and Traveller awareness training and includes a one day or 2 hour options, plus FAQS, useful websites etc. It costs: £100 (excluding VAT) for small businesses and charities. £300 (excluding VAT) for large businesses and public sector organisations. For more information, contact the Gypsy Media Company Ltd. 07966 786 242 Seal of approval: Moving Forward has the backing of Warwickshire Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)


Be a Life Long Learner The Gypsy and Traveller tradition of learning throughout life is now called Life Long Learning, writes Siobhan Spencer of the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group.

Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group (DGLG) supports Life Long Learning. It works closely with Derbyshire Traveller Education Advisory Service. But what is Life Long Learning? Life long learning is defined as “the pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. As such, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also competitiveness and employability”.

Learning Throughout a Lifetime Put simply it means that learning is not confined to childhood or the classroom, but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations. Traditionally Gypsy and Traveller communities learn skills from father to son and from mother to daughter. During the last few years it has been acknowledged that there have been changes and

Gypsy/Travellers at University It does not matter if you achieve the certificate. It has been good to see Gypsy/Traveller people walk into a university setting for the very first time, some who have never been to secondary school. We would like to thank the Dean, Kevin Bampton from the University of Derby for his support and Ann Emslie who worked hard with the university to get the work accredited. We struggled for a year with no funding and it was extremely hard to pick it up again, but we have managed it. The Derby and Derbyshire Traveller Education Advisory and Support Team (TEAST) is based within the Development and Inclusion Service. It consists of a Team Leader, two full-time and one part-time Advisory Teachers and two Teaching Assistants working with Gypsy and Traveller Pupils. The team also includes a Teacher and four bilingual Teaching Assistants responsible for Roma pupils. Contact Nigel Groom Team Leader 01332 256 740.

change has had a profound effect on learning. Learning can no longer be divided into a place and time to acquire knowledge (school) and a place and time to apply the knowledge acquired (the workplace). We all learn as we go through life. Life is a learning curve and we learn through our mistakes also. The Moving On Reading scheme encouraged Gypsy and Travellers to write their own stories or illustrate books and celebrate cultures. For Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month DGLG will endeavour to get a reading book into every school in Derbyshire, targeting those first where we know there are children attending from the community.

Reading Poster

We have also formulated the Training the Trainers Course to enable members of the Gypsy/Traveller community to obtain an accredited certificate at DGLG A5 2pp 21/4/09 10:06 University level.


To encourage life long learning we’ve produced the poster to the left. Esperanza, the little girl who designed the picture in the poster, is from America and she loved the Gypsy Horses book so much that she sent us this picture that she had drawn. She insisted that she did not want money or presents for her birthday but collected money to send to DGLG to promote the scheme and Page 1 make more books available for the children in UK.

Training the Trainers Delivering diversity

community Training the Trainers Course is designed for the Gypsy and Traveller community may never never have had the of secondary education or been in ainuniversity who may hadchance the chance of secondary education or been a university in the Derby University setting. Some sessions have to be undertaken at Derby University duedue to to outreach sessions available. ItItwill willgive give30 30 equipment use, but there will also be outreach about this this course course please fill in University credits. credits. If you would like to know more about this flier and send to Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, Ernest Ernest Bailey Bailey Community Community Centre, Centre, Street, Matlock, Office 3, New Street, Matlock, Derbyshire, Derbyshire, DE4 DE4 3FE 3FE Tel: Tel: 01629 01629 583300 583300 The National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups would like to take this opportunity to state its support for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. We wish everyone success in all their events, wherever this may be in the country. The Federation Committee

Chair Mr. Peter Mercer MBE

Name Address

DGLG, Winners of The Queens Golden Jubilee Award For Voluntary Groups 2003. Winners of the Queens Home Office Award 2004 For Innovative police Training in Conjunction with Derbyshire Constabulary Derbyshire County Council Funded


Storytelling Competition

Write a Short Story to Celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Last year, children across Britain celebrated Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month by entering a very successful national poster competition. This year’s History Month has a national and regional storytelling competition being led and organised by the National Association of Teachers of Travellers and Other Professionals (NATT+). It has been organised for all children from the foundation stage up to Key Stage 4. Stories must be about the Gypsy, Roma or Traveller communities and each story should last no longer than 5 minutes. It can be written, recorded or drawn. There are prizes for all age groups and an overall winner. There will be a presentation ceremony in Leeds on 17th November. Your entry must have an entry label filled in and attached. Just one entry per person please. For a full list of rules and entry labels see:

Send entries to: NATT+, West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds LS16 5BE. Make sure your entry is in by 30th June 2009

Opening minds behind closed doors This June hundreds of schools, colleges, nurseries and even prisons will be using Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month to raise the profile of our culture across Britain. Whether it’s in the classroom or during a whole-school assembly, a lot of work is being done to actively dispel the myths that blight so many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller lives. Many Traveller Education Services around the UK produce materials to use in the classroom. Providing culturally relevant and factually correct books and DVDs in the school is crucial to setting the record straight about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. NATT+ has recently published a catalogue that brings all of these resources together in the same place for the very first time. Copies can be obtained by contacting Most of the items can also be ordered through the NATT+ website at

National Association of Teachers of Travellers + Other Professionals


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Free and confidential advice paid for by legal aid and provided by the Community Law Partnership

Travellers’ Helpline

Eviction, planning or site problems? We can help We can provide independent and confidential advice on • Evictions from roadside encampments • Official site possession actions • Planning cases • Homelessness For FREE advice if you live on a low income or benefits: Mon-Fri 10.00am-1.00pm, and 2.00pm-5.00pm

0845 120 2980 The Travellers’ Helpline is run by the Travellers’ Advice Team and funded by Community Legal Advice. We also provide advice and assistance to Gypsies and Travellers on other legal issues affecting them.

What’s going on in the North East Region

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire

Exhibitions, storytelling and performance throughout the North East. Throughout June What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller displays in libraries across North Yorkshire. Where: Libraries in Malton, Norton, Skipton, Stokesley, Knaresborough, Selby and Thirsk. Contact: Angela Nellis, North Yorkshire County Council Library & Information 0845 034 9560

Where: The West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds LS16 5BE Contact: Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service Leeds 0113 274 8050

What: Exhibition of photographs and examples of Romany crafts. Where: Kirkleatham Museum, Kirkleatham, Redcar, Redcar & Cleveland TS10 5NW Contact: Liz Vine 01642 496 400

June 23, 24, 25,26, 30

June 6-28 What: International Roma artist, Ferdinand Koci Exhibition. Where: The Gallery, Headingley Studios, 16a Midland Road, Leeds LS6 1BQ Contact: Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service Leeds 0113 274 8050

Spring as a flower girl

June 18th What: Bradford Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month Celebration – featuring rare local Gypsy photographs, wagons, stalls, crafts, music and dance. Where: Outside City Hall, Centenary Square Bradford West Yorkshire BD1 1HY Contact: Violet Cannon, Bradford Community and Voluntary Services, 01274 722 772

June 22,23, 26 What: GRTHM Arts week for schools, featuring Gypsy, Roma and Traveller artists, musicians and storytellers.

June 24 What: GRT Achievement and Storytelling Awards Ceremony. Where: Leeds Civic Hall, Portland Crescent, City Centre, Leeds LS1 1UR 0113 247 4024 Time: 6.00pm Contact: Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service Leeds 0113 274 8050

Portrait by artist Ferdinand Koci

What: Tour of the ‘From Cinders to Tatters’ Play by the Jackdrum Theatre Group. “From Cinders to Tatters” is an exploration of the many versions of Cinderella inspired by Bartolome Esteban Murillo’s extraordinary paintings of street children in old Seville, such as “Spring as a flower girl” (pictured right) and the rich traditions of Gypsy Romany Travellers. It is a celebration of childhood and diversity and the dreams we all have of being someone else in someone else’s shoes. It is a play with storytelling, singing, music and dancing! June 23: Spennymoor Town Hall, Durham at 1.30pm Contact: June 24: Hull Contact: 01482 616653 June 25: Ripon Contact: 01609 535 546 June 26: Bradford Contact: June 30: Roseberry Comprehensive, Chester-le-St at 1.30pm Contact:

Black is Back

Not to be missed … June 13 to 21

What: Baro Ziro (Big Time) Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Arts Festival. Following a very successful series of events last year the Baro Ziro (which means Big Time in Romany) festival returns with a week long series of events held in the Baro Ziro Big Top next to Doncaster Museum.

The festival will feature acts from English Romany Singer Ambrose Cooper, to Serbian Gypsy Punk musicians KAL and the Czech Eurovision contest representatives Romany Rappers (pictured). There’s also Gypsy and Traveller film screenings and English Gypsy artists Delaine and Damian Le Bas and storytelling. Where: Doncaster Museum and Arts Gallery, Chequer Road, Doncaster, Doncaster, DN1 2AE Contact: Doncaster Arts Service Janet Sisson 01302 737 328

Serbian Romany band KAL is the original Gypsy Punk band. This June they’ll be touring from London to Doncaster, celebrating Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month with their infectious blend of music and politics, writes Garth Cartwright. KAL are a young Serbian Gypsy band. They are lead by Dragan Ristic who is a prominent spokesman for Serbia’s Romany Gypsy people. Dragan is a very articulate man and speaks (and sings) in several languages (Serbian, Romany, English and French). KAL is a Romany word for “black” and Dragan emphasises that his band not only continue the tradition of making music and entertaining people but also can act as a platform to highlight Gypsy issues. KAL mix folk music with rock and electronic beats so creating a new kind of Gypsy music. KAL have released two albums on the Berlin record label Asphalt Tango. These albums are called KAL and RADIO ROMANISTA. Both albums feature dynamic, exciting music. Critics have compared KAL with Led Zeppelin in the way they mix folk music with the dynamics and power of rock music. Dragan likes to say that KAL are the original “Gypsy punk band”. KAL spend a lot of time touring - they have twice

toured the USA and regularly tour all over Europe. They have been to the UK a couple of times, most memorably headlining Suffolk’s Gypsy Arts Festival in 2006. KAL are about to embark on a 4-date UK tour in June. Because June is Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, KAL have been chosen to headline the annual Celebrating Sanctuary Festival at Coin St on London’s South Bank on June 14th.

KAL UK Tour June 2009 June 11 The Romanian Restaurant,

32 Old Bailey, The City, London EC4 Doors 7.00pm (includes first UK screening of a documentary on Saban Bajramovic - the late, great Serbian Gypsy singer).

June 13 Baro Ziro Festival, Doncaster June 14 Celebrating Sanctuary Festival, Coin St, South Bank, London

Celebrating Sanctuary is a free festival that highlights how London is made up of people from all over the world, many having arrived in this city seeking sanctuary from persecution. It is appropriate that KAL are the first Gypsy band to headline Celebrating Sanctuary as their songs often concern the persecution Romanies face from racists. Also, London has given sanctuary to Romany families for over five hundred years so this festival will be one every Gypsy in the UK should come to and dance with joy. KAL are a very exciting, progressive band. Please buy their CDs and come to their concerts – you won’t regret it. Visit and search for “KAL”.


Lord of the Rings Traveller ringmaster Robert Gordon reveals the Romany contribution to the big top across Europe. My maternal Grandfather was a Gypsy. So growing up as a hawker, I was always fascinated by circus from a very young age. I started working part time at a winter circus in Belfast at the age of 10, and I’ve spent most of the past 39 years working in the circus business, first in the publicity department then as ringmaster and manager. It was not long before I discovered that many circus family’s in Europe, and some in the British Isles, were Gypsy or the descendants of Gypsies. In fact the first trapeze act I ever saw was a lady called Madge Gray, her husband Holly was a member of one of England’s oldest Romany families,

The famous Gruss Gypsy circus in Paris

Robert Gordon at work in Las Vegas trees back to Romany people like the Wilsons, Maynes, Shaws and Butchers.

Long before Major Phillip Ashley started horse displays in London, which then progressed into the circus as we know it today, large numbers of Romany Tribes were travelling throughout Western Europe including Britain and Ireland performing shows which included trick-riding, magic, storytelling, and of course fortune-telling.

Europe however is a very different story, with most of the Gypsy Circus families boasting of their Romany and Sinti blood. There are hundreds of circuses run by Gypsy circus performers – many even tell of their Gypsy heritage in the programmes. Even a large number of the Monster Truck shows in Europe are owned by families like the Stays, Guartners, Rosaires and Belluccis – all Gypsy people.

In England many of the circuses are now run by non-Gypsies but there are still some shows in England and Ireland that trace their family

Some of the biggest shows in France are owned by Gypsies, like the famous Bouglione and Gruss families. The most famous Bouglione show is

the Cirque D’hiver in Paris which is held in a lovely building on land they once camped on. The family are very proud of their Gypsy blood. Another branch of this family tour a show called Circus Romanes which is a pure Gypsy themed circus. There are hundreds of circuses in Italy and Spain but most are run by famous Gypsy families like the Tongis, the Belluccis and the Cristos. Germany is a very different story. While many circuses are run by Rom And Sinti people, Germany and the Low Countries have their own tribes of travellers called Yenesche who are much like non-Romany travellers in the UK. These Travellers run hundreds of circuses in Germany and a few in Holland. Most of these folk are very proud of the fact they are Travellers first and Circus People second. So there is a very rich Romany and Traveller history within European circuses which have brought happiness and enjoyment to countless generations and something that all of us, Gypsy and Gorgia, should be very proud of.

Sustainable, well managed Gypsy and Traveller sites VISION To provide a network of sustainable, well managed Gypsy and Traveller sites where residents receive the support they need, enjoy harmonious relationships with the wider community and where no one is forced onto unauthorised encampments due to homelessness.

For further information please contact:


Mobile 07846 342 067

HSSA is a not-for-profit, Community Interest Company (CIC). Formed from a combination of voluntary and community sector, private and public interests, HSSA was established in August 2008 with the aim of transforming the lives of Gypsies, Irish Travellers and the wider communities they live in. HSSA will work with local authorities before, during and after the refurbishment of existing sites, or new site construction to ensure all communities can benefit from the quiet enjoyment of their homes and businesses.

Jane Hurn, Director of Finance

HSSA OFFER A revolution in site management and design. We will do this by working with all communities to ensure sites are well designed and managed with standardised operating procedures and competent line management of local HSSA staff. This will be under-pinned by local Nomination and Evictions Panels providing support and advice to avoid problems occurring in the first place.


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Joe Hurn, Managing Director Email

Email Mobile 07590 690 607 Janet Smith, Director of Communities Email Mobile 07778 766 785 Home Space Sustainable Accommodation CIC The Winsford Centre Cheviot Square Winsford Cheshire CW7 1QS

What’s going on in the North West Region

Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside

Many varied events are taking place in the North West, including, arguably the most important event on the calendar. June 4-7

June 20

What: Appleby fair. This is quite simply the biggest Gypsy horse fair on planet earth! Where: Go to the town of Appleby in Cumbria and follow the crowds up onto Fair Hill.

June 11 What: Film Screening of “Latcho Drom” (Good Road) by Romany director Tony Gaitlif. Where: Cornerhouse Cinema, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH Contact: Cornerhouse Cinema 0161 200 1500

June 17 What: Award Ceremony- children and young people from Bolton will have their achievements acknowledged with awards presented by the Mayor of Bolton. Where: Festival Hall, Victoria Square, Bolton, Lancashire BL11YZ 01204 334 433 Time: 1.30 to 3.00pm Contact: Kath Cresswell, Community Cohesion and Traveller Education 1204 338 150

What: Gypsy Roma Traveller and Showman Cultural Event. A community event to celebrate the rich history, culture and heritage of the GRT communities in Salford and Manchester. Activities will include: professional storyteller, traditional craft workshops, music workshops, dance, dvd presentation, traditional GRT food and much more! When: 12.00 to 3.00pm Where: Irish World Heritage Centre, 10 Queens Road, Manchester, M8 8UF

June 24 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Football Tournament. Where: JJB Soccer Dome, Stadium Way, Wigan, Greater Manchester WN5 0UN Contact: Ann O’Shea Co-ordinator, 01942 404 075 Wigan Traveller Education Service

July 11 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Celebration Day. Marquee, displays, dance and singing acts, vardos and cultural DVDs. Where: Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1SA Time: 10.30am to 3.00pm Contact: Kath Cresswell 1204 338 150 Community Cohesion and Traveller Education

On the left: running horses at Appleby Fair, a traditional part of trading, as is the washing of horses in the river Eden as seen in the photograph below

What: Film screening of Mitchell & Kenyon archive film about the Fairground. Where: Cornerhouse Cinema, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH Contact: Cornerhouse Cinema 0161 200 1500

June 30 What: Pavee Céilidh – Irish Traveller song, dance and Irish Traveller oral history. Where: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS Contact: Irish Travellers Movement in Britain 0207 607 2002

Not to be missed … If you are looking for a single event that sums up Gypsy and Traveller culture head to the town of Applebyin-Westmorland in Cumbria over the second weekend in June. No other single event crams so much Gypsy and Traveller colour, chaos and character into such a short amount of time than Appleby Horse Fair. Like many Gypsy Horse Fairs, Appleby Horse Fair exists because of a royal charter granted by James II in 1685. The fair has survived an attempt at closure by Westmorland Borough Council in 1965. Appleby New Fair now is attended by about 5,000 Gypsies, Travellers and other traders and up to 1,500 caravans park in the area. On the Saturday of fair week, between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors pour into Appleby and onto Fair Hill. Watch horses being washed in the River Eden and the trotting of horses to show them off to potential buyers. It’s also the place to see the finest piebald and skewbald Gypsy cobs changing hands.


Surrey Community Action is proud to support Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller History month. We currently host two community members as Community Development Workers who support Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to achieve a good quality of life in Surrey. We are committed to supporting equality and diversity in our business and are seriously committed to promoting and raising the profile for BME groups. Activities for History Month in Surrey include: • Promotion in Surrey Schools using Scrapbooks. This involves children and their parents • Bourne Hall Gypsy day on 20th June at Bourne Hall, Ewell, Surrey. Surrey Community Action provides a wide range of services to help Surrey’s communities and voluntary organisations grow and develop. Resources available include advice, training, funding and advocacy. There are over 6,000 voluntary and community groups and a mixture of urban, suburban and rural communities including Gypsies & Travellers, and we offer support to all of them, no matter how large or small.


Lives in the Landscape The English landscape boasts hundreds of Romany Roads and Gypsy Lanes, powerful evidence that Gypsy and Traveller families have been part of England for centuries. Jake Bowers looks at one such place, Gipsy Hill, in London. From at least the 17th century to the mid-19th century, Gypsies camped in the South London areas of Norwood, Penge and Croydon Common. And there’s plenty of evidence as to how the area got its name. Quite simply, Gipsy Hill was where the people of London went to get their fortunes told. Margaret Finch, who died on 24 October 1740 at the ancient age of 108 years, was known as the ‘Queen of the Gypsies’ and lived near the lower end of Gipsy Hill. Her fortune telling was a local attraction. According to historian James Caulfield, she was born at Sutton in Kent and travelled the entire country before settling in Norwood. His description of her and Gipsy Hill accompanies a picture that was drawn of her: “[She] adopted a habit, and afterwards a constant custom, of sitting on the ground with her chin resting on her knees, which caused her sinews to become so contracted, that she could not extend herself or change her position. The singularity of her figure, and the fame of her fortune-telling, drew a vast concourse of persons from the highest rank and quality to that of the lowest class in life.”

He continued: “Norwood, and the roads leading to it; on a fine Sunday, resembled the scene of a fair; and, with the greatest difficulty only, could a seat or a mug of beer be obtained, at the place called the Gipsy-house.” Margaret was succeeded by her niece, ‘Old Bridget, the Queen of the Gypsies’ who died on 6 August 1768. She was succeeded in turn by her niece Margaret. Another of her descendants, a Mrs Cooper, was one of the principal fortune tellers at Beulah Spa in the 19th century.

Margaret Finch, the original “Queen of Gipsy Hill”. Photo: Lambeth Archives

The church register for St Giles in Camberwell records that on June 2 1687, ‘King and Queen of the Jepsies [Gypsies], Robt. Hern and Elizabeth Bozwell’ were married there. Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary for the 11 August 1688 that his wife went ‘to see the Gypsies at Lambeth and had their fortunes told’. In the nineteenth century, ‘the heights of Norwood were the holiday playground of the cockney tripper … Gypsy fortune telling was still one of the attractions”. The authorities cracked down on the Gypsy fortune-tellers of South London in the late 18th century. In August 1797, police arrested thirty men, women and children in Norwood under the Vagrancy Act. In 1802, the Society for the Suppression of Vice brought charges against the Norwood fortune-tellers. ‘Faced with police repression and subsequent enclosure of the Common, the fortune-tellers finally deserted Norwood’. Despite this there is a large Gypsy community in South London to the present day. During Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month, 5 libraries in Lambeth will be celebrating our history. On June 12 West Norwood Library will host an open day about local Gypsy History. For more information contact: Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH High June Street, 2009 West Norwood Library, Norwood London SE27 9JX Telephone: 020 7926 8092

Friends Families and Travellers

is proud to support the second Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month and wishes the event every success this year and in the future. We are a small national charity, based in Brighton, working on behalf of all Gypsies and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background. Join us if you want to help the fight against the racism and discrimination that Gypsies and Travellers experience as part of their everyday lives. Membership costs just £10 per annum (£5 unwaged) or £25 for organisations. To apply for membership just phone Suzanna on 01273 234821 or email to

Gypsies,Who are ya? Sunday 28th June, 11am-5pm A celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller arts and culture.

Friends, Families and Travellers, Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH

June 2009

To advertise in the next oma Gypsy Rof Traveller edition Gypsy Roma June 2009 Traveller History Month Magazine, contact the Gypsy Media Company on: 07966 786 242 HISTORY MONTH

For a rate card see: magazine

another SPANNER IN THE WORKS challenging prejudice and racism in mainly white schools Elanor Knowles and Wendy Ridley

Family entry ticket just £10 ‘I found some of the best ideas I’ve encountered for exploring ‘them and us’ thinking 50479 04/09

Please call 01299 250416 for further information County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Nr Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ

and how that builds into prejudice: materials that will have an application on all schools, whether mono or multicultural.’ Times Educational Supplement A handbook for teachers with practical classroom ideas and approaches, all tried and tested by schools in Cumbria. Available from Cumbria Development Education Centre: Tel: 015394 30231 £15.99 plus £2 P&P


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Shropshire, Staffordshire, What’s going on in Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Metropolitan county of the West Midlands the West Midlands and Worcestershire

This year’s events across the West Midlands region include many that are musical and artistic including the opportunities to listen to Gypsy storytellers and make Gypsy music. Throughout June

July 18

What: Walsall Travellers in Pictures Exhibition. Where: Walsall Museum, Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS1 1TR

What: Gypsy Swing Guitar Workshop. It’s a great opportunity to receive first class instruction from a world respected guitarist. His dexterity, musicianship, intricate skills, historical interest and enthusiasm are a joy to absorb. You could have no finer teacher than Maestro Paul Vernon Chester in the demanding and delicate delights of Manouche Swing Jazz. Where: St. Martin’s Church Hall, Daffodil Road, Walsall, West Midlands, WS5 3DQ Time: 10.30am until 4.00pm Contact: 01844 353 117

June 15 What: Gypsy Roma Traveller History, Music and Exhibitions. Where: Victoria Square, Birmingham Centre, Birmingham Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm Contact: Melissa Roche 0121 622 5806

Not to be missed … June 28

July 26

What: Gypsies: Who are ya! - A celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller arts and culture.

June 17 What: Films. Showing Travellers Remember + others Where: Forest Arts Centre, Walsall, West Midlands, WS3 1AG

July 15 What: Spirit of the Peaks. Gypsy storyteller Sandy Townsley tells an amazing story of Jack’s quest for his bride as he is transported – like something from Dr Who – from John O’Groats to Land’s End – and beyond to the End of the World. This amazing story is itself a combination of many familiar stories. Where: Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath B14 7SA Time: 7.30pm Contact: Graham Langley 01629 826 939

Jazz swing guitarist Django Reinhardt one of the most famous Jazz musicians. Can you follow his lead in Walsall on the 18th July?

Worcestershire’s Gypsy Traveller Heritage & Country Fair Event is a celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller arts and culture as part of GRT History Month. After last year’s great success, this event looks set to become an annual event during Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month. Where: Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Worcestershire, DY11 7XZ Time: 11.00am to 5.00pm Contact: 01299 250 416

What: Birmingham Romany Memorial Review, a gathering of relatives, relations and friends of the original Black Patch Romany Gypsies. To commemorate the eviction of the Romany families who lived on the Black Patch in Smethwick, Satffordshire from the 1800s until 1905. “This year thanks to the pressure exerted by the “Friends of Black Patch Park” I can confirm that the Black Patch Park will be retained as “open space” and is no longer under any threat of being built on.” Says Ted Rudge, author of Brumroamin, a book about the Black Patch Gypsies. “So this is also a reunion to celebrate the retention of the park by people who cared .” Time: 11.00am, exactly 104 years after the eviction Where: Soho Foundry Tavern, Foundry Lane, Smethwick, Staffs Contact: Ted Rudge 0121 744 5939

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Down Memory Lane The history of most Gypsies and Travellers is best preserved in the memories of our elders. In this extract from her forthcoming book “Our Forgotten Years” Romany rights activist Maggie Smith-Bendell remembers a typical spring day. The next morning we began to prepare for pulling back onto the road. We had to put out the fire and cover it with grass, pick up any rubbish to drop off on the next tip. We would head slowly towards Gillingham, to Stourhead Wood, where we would pick the little wild daffies, but we knew they were a while away from being fit to pick. A couple of weeks would do the trick, and meanwhile we could take our time selling our snowdrop bunches. “You would meet all kinds while out calling, I can tell you; the good, the bad and the indifferent.” When we reached the next village, Lilea and I went out with our mams and Aunt May to call on the doors. It was the first time that year we had gone calling, so me dad pulled me aside to give me a strict warning. “Maggie, my gal, when you go out today you will see money on the doorsteps. That money is

not yours, Maggie. It belongs to the baker or the milkman or butcher, but not you. Now have you got that?” “Yes, Dad, I knows it,” I replied. “Well remember it, or you will get locked up!” It was a familiar warning; he always gave us the same talk whenever we had to knock on doors, fearing that we would get ourselves into bother. We knew better than to pick anything up, but would accept a penny or two if some kind lady offered it. There were some ladies who would set their dogs on you, or throw water at you just for opening the gate! You would meet all kinds while out calling, I can tell you; the good, the bad and the indifferent. We were dressed up warm for the long walk ahead of us, me mam carrying the hawking basket full of flowers, and Lilea and I with our handfuls to sell. We worked well like this, and I knew how to talk to the housewives at the doors.

a popular wildflower, and though it took time to walk around the villages we were the first Travellers to have done so, just as me Dad had surmised. Pick first, sell first – that was his motto. During the day, Lilea and I had been given a few sweets and biscuits, but it didn’t help the cold. We were dreading the long walk back to the wagons until May called out that she had sold her last bunch. “Well, let’s head back now so I can cook for my lot,” said me Mam. “I could eat me a grunt, I’m that hungry!” We all agreed, and happily began to make tracks back along the road.

“Can I sell you a bunch of lovely fresh flowers, ma’am?”

But all was not well when we arrived where we had stopped. Instead of seeing the welcome sight of a roaring fire and our own wagons there was an empty space where they should have been! The police had moved them on, and all we found were lumps of grass left for us to follow, breadcrumbs to show us the roads our family had took.

We would repeat it again and again through the day, and though so many people refused us, the snowdrops would sell. Snowdrops were such

Our Forgotten Years will be published by the University of Hertfordshire Press later this year. For more information see their advert on page 12.

Following the Trail CD-based History resources, full of fascinating pictures, puzzles and stories, tracing the history of a Devon Romany Gypsy family from the present day back to the start of the 19th century

Travellers’ Tales The hidden heritage of Surrey’s largest ethnic minority is uncovered in this DVD celebrating the history and culture of Surrey’s 10,000 Gypsy and Traveller Community.

It is particularly suitable for any school that is interested in … • Helping children grow up in an increasingly diverse society • Working to improve community cohesion • Developing a more inclusive curriculum for Gypsy Roma children • Challenging prejudice and myths • Developing young people’s sense of identity • Enriching the curriculum with powerful stories and images • Developing active learning approaches • Preparing for Gypsy Romany Traveller History Month in June 2009

The resources can be used in Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. They can be linked to existing work on topics such as comparing past and present, the Victorians or the First World War. The activities develop many Thinking Skills, particularly those used in making sense of historical evidence.

Copies of Following the Trail costs £9.99 and can be ordered from: Devon Traveller Achievement Service, Redworth House, Ashburton Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JZ Contact Caroline Annett: 01392 386811


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Travellers’ Tales is a series of 18 digital stories created by Gypsy and Traveller Communities working with Romani journalist Jake Bowers. Gypsy Culture from every angle, from poaching to travelling and from horse-trotting to the religious Gypsy conventions and pilgrimages.

Costs only £10 from: The Gypsy Media Company Ltd, PO Box 313, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 9EW Telephone: 07966 786242

What’s going on in the South West Region

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Avon

The South West has a diverse set of events for GRTHM 2009 including an important conference. June 3 What: Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month Open day at Newton Abbot fire station. Demos of fire equipment etc./fat fires/ smoke alarms/ safety information.

What: Romany and Traveller Heritage Day Where: Bishop’s College, Estcourt Close, Gloucester, GL1 3LR Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm Contact: Willie Reid, Gloucestershire County Council Children & Young People’s Directorate 01452 550 505

June 17

Where: Newton Abbot Fire Station The Avenue Newton Abbot TQ12 2DR Time: 3.00 to 7.00pm

June 5 What: Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Launch. Film showing, crafts and launch – by invitation only. Where: Taunton, Somerset Contact: Sally Tucker Woodbury 07768 858 802

June 6 What: Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Storytelling Show. Where: Acorn Theatre, Parade Street, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4BU Time: 2.00pm Contact: 01736 365 520

What: St Day Gypsy & Traveller Women’s Group is having an ‘Open Morning’ featuring art and a film showing. Time: From 10.00am Contact: Caroline Dann 07939 210 014

June 20

Exclusive to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month online is a new Romano Drom songbook written by Romany singer and activist Kerieva. It features music,

This regional conference organised by Equality South West aims to consider the key issues and actions needed to improve the conditions for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Communities in the South West region.

Where: Somerset College of Art and Technology (SCAT), Taunton, Somerset College of Arts, Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5AX Aim: To consider the key issues and actions needed to change the outcomes for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Communities in the region. Contact: Jack Horwood, Administrator 01823 250 832

June 23 What: Not all who Wander are Lost. An exploration of Gypsy History and Culture in Dorset. Where: The Dorford centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester, DT1 1RR Time: 7.00 to 9.00pm

Much of the events and issues surrounding Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month can’t be squeezed into a 20 page magazine, so we’ve created a brand new website packed with pictures, films and sound recordings that explore every aspect of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture.

History Month Website

June 25

What: Conference: Changing the Outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the South West.

What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Skills Event. Where: Christchurch School and Key Centre, Feltham Lane, Frome, Somerset BA11 5AJ 01373 463 781 Time: 10.30am to 5.00pm Contact: Sally Tucker Woodbury 07768 858 802

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Online

Whether you’re a teacher wanting to dispel ignorance about Gypsy and Traveller culture, a community member wanting to share something of their past or simply someone who has been to a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month event, simply go online and get involved.

Not to be missed …

chords and words to some of the greatest eastern European Romany songs ever written as well as a collection of five English Romany folk songs written and performed by Epsom Romany singer Ambrose Cooper. Visit:

Traveller Times Online To share and see reports, films and photos from many Gypsy, Romany and Traveller History Month events you can also visit Travellers Times Online’s website at:

Citizens Advice supports Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2009

citizens advice bureau

For free, confidential advice visit your local bureau or online at

Citizens Advice, registered charity number 279057


Ticket to Ride Owning and trading horses has been a key part of Gypsy and Traveller life for centuries. But will new rules for microchipping horses help or hinder the community’s passion for it’s most faithful companion? We examine the new rules governing horse ownership in the UK. Gypsies and horses have come a long way together: for five hundred years our fates and way of have life have been closely linked. Yet when the horse-drawn caravan gave way to the motor-drawn trailer, the relationship didn’t end. Today Gypsy and Traveller people love their horses as much as ever. Few of us now use a horse to pull our homes, but horses are no less close to our hearts. Maybe it’s because the horse remains a symbol of the freedom we have lost as travelling life has become outlawed. A Symbol of Freedom But if the horse is still a symbol of freedom, horse ownership itself has never been so closely regulated. From 2004 all owners and keepers with primary responsibility for day to day care have been required to obtain passports for their horses. And those passports must accompany the horses when they are sold, competed with, exported or slaughtered. Yet 5 years after the new regulations came into force, nearly 400,000 horses are estimated to have no papers. The National Equine Database has issued over 980,000 passports but the horse industry estimates that there are currently 1.35 million horses in the UK.

Tightening of Rules From next month, new EU regulations are coming into force which will tighten these rules. In short, any new foal, plus any horses not previously identified, will need to be micro-chipped as well as have a passport. The new rules will also apply to donkeys, ponies and even zebras. “Foals born after 1 July 2009, and older horses born before 30 June 2009 that have not yet been issued with a passport, must have an electronic microchip implanted by a veterinary surgeon when being first identified,” says a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) spokeswoman. “Both passport and microchip details will be recorded on the issuer’s database and centrally on the National Equine Database.” The new rules will also introduce an offence of keeping a horse without a passport. But with 400,000 horses still without passports, some horse owners are asking why the rules are being tightened. “The strengthening of the link between the horse and the information about its medical treatment stored on its passport is to reduce the risk of unsuitable horses entering the food chain,” says DEFRA. The Department also says that rules will help control horse diseases, reduce horse thefts and prevent fraud in horse sales and competitions. But with just one month to go before the need for microchipping becomes law, it’s clear that many within the Gypsy and Traveller community are unaware of the new rules. Whilst few seem to object to the principle of the new rules, many aren’t convinced of their practicality. Horseman and Romany museum proprietor Gordon Boswell says, “I suppose it’s a good idea. But to me, the passport hasn’t been a great success. For a dealing man, it’s currently just a nuisance. But it’s a good idea if it does end up protecting animals and owners.”

No Exceptions Like many within the community, Appleby Fair organiser Billy Welch hadn’t heard of the new rules and said; “It just seems like more bureaucracy to me, so I don’t see what good it will do. But I know some lads that have had horses stolen, so microchipping may be of some use.” But with a potential £5000 fine for not following the rules, he said that it doesn’t matter whether the community agrees with the rules, because from July 1st they will be bound by them like everyone else. A DEFRA spokeswoman said: “DEFRA recognises the value and status of the horse within the Gypsy and Travelling community and will

continue to actively engage and educate the community regarding this requirement. The new requirements apply to all horse owners across the EU with no exceptions. “We do not consider the requirement to identify a foal or older horse to be overly bureaucratic. The cost of correctly identifying a horse is not great when compared with the overall cost to the owners of keeping the animal over its life span. Many horses and ponies owned by the Gypsy and Travelling communities are high value animals and it makes good sense that these go to sale correctly identified as required by law.” DEFRA officers will be at Appleby Fair to explain the new rules to horse owners within the Gypsy and Traveller community.

Horse passports and microchips: THE FACTS From July 1st 2009, any new foal, plus any horses not previously identified, will need to be micro-chipped as well as have a passport. Micro-chipping must be done by vets, but DEFRA says that the average cost of implantation is in the region of £60. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to £5,000 per horse in the UK. For more information and advice on how to obtain micro-chips and passports, call 08459 33 55 77, visit the DEFRA web site* or email The Gypsy Cob Society is one of the Passport Issuing Organisations approved by DEFRA. It specialises in Gypsy Cob horses but can also provide passports for other horse types. The organisation was established to protect the traditional Gypsy Cob horse breed. The Society will be providing passports at Appleby Fair and otherwise can be contacted at, telephone 01768 341 319 or email *this link is live from May 31st 2009

GRTHM Magazine Credits Published by: The Gypsy Media Company Ltd., community producers of: • Films, radio and publications about the Gypsy and Traveller community • Research with the Gypsy and Traveller community • Cultural awareness training about the Gypsy and Traveller community The Gypsy Media Company Ltd., PO Box 313, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 9EW 07966 786242


Edited by: Jake Bowers – Email: Design: Graham Alexander – Email: Part financed by: The Department for Children Schools and Families. To advertise in the next edition of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine contact the Gypsy Media Company Ltd.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

The Gypsy Media Company

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