Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

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Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

From Kent to Cumbria, where you should be during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

The forgotten history of Europe’s largest ethnic minority

Places to go and things to do to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture

June 2008

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Inside this issue

Places to Go

Things to See


All the concerts, exhibitions and shows taking place in venues near you

See traditional craftsmanship such as No Gypsy can afford to forget wagon building in the places where the darkest part of our history, which all people must learn from Gypsy history is best preserved

Poster Winner From the thousands of entries to our national poster competition, we have chosen a winner

Gypsy travlr Ad



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Sussex Police are pleased to support the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month people from your community... Sussex Police is always looking to recruit high calibre police officers, police community support officers and special constables to help us tackle crime across Sussex. We want Sussex Police to reflect the diverse population it serves and we are interested in recruiting people who represent all our neighbourhoods and communities.

...working with your community

unlocking your potential - securing our future


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Applicants wanting to become a police officer or special constable will need to live in Sussex. All applicants will need to have lived at UK addresses with postcodes for the three years immediately prior to the date of application. For further information please contact the Positive Action Recruitment Manager on 0845 60 70 999 extension 44128 and mention Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. To view our current vacancies visit

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Timeline #1


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Britain’s 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have lived, worked and travelled throughout Britain for over 500 years, yet we have been almost entirely written out of British history. Go to most museums, and schools and nothing HISTORYlibraries MONTH KD;Ãqyyw 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. Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month aims to change that.

53 B.C.E Fairs are being held in Britain after the Roman invasion. c.1000 C.E Groups of Roma, originating in Northern India, reach modern Greece and Turkey. 1100s C.E Travellers first recorded in Ireland. Travelling smiths mentioned in Scottish records.

What is Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month? This June, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are coming together, with central government backing, to begin the long overdue task of educating the British public about who we are and where we come from. 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 a crucial part of Britain’s future. This magazine has been produced to publicize the events that are going on across England as part of the country’s first national Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. From cover to cover, from Cumbria to Kent, it is packed with events, products and articles you need to celebrate the survival of Europe’s largest and most misunderstood ethnic minority. Watch out for the next issue of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine in October when we’ll report back on the event and announce the winners of the International Activities Competitions that are happening in June and July (see centre spread spread for details).

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

June 2008

1200s C.E Many fairs are created by Royal Charter, including Bridlington (1200) and Hull (1299). By the turn of the 13th Century Roma begin to arrive in Western Europe.

Inside this June issue What’s going on in the South East Region


What’s going on in the London Area


Scottish Travellers


What’s going on in the East Region


Act of Compassion


From the Highlands to the Borders, Scotland has a Gypsy history that has yet to be recognised

Forty years ago, the Caravan Sites Act made sites for Gypsies a legal duty. Meet the man behind it, the campaigning Lord Avebury

Scroll On!

From traditional scrollwork to high contemporary art, the artistic influence of Gypsies and Travellers is everywhere.

8 8

Poetry in Motion


International Activities


Hall of Fame


National Poster Competition


What’s going on in the North East Region


Gypsy War Heroes


What’s going on in the North West Region


Irish Travellers


What’s going on in the West Midlands Region


What’s going on in the South West and Wales


Roma Holocaust


We have devised a number of activity competitions for you to show off your talents in the next two months You may be surprised by the Gypsies, Roma and Travellers that have made their mark in the world Thousands of entries have been judged. Find out who won.

Gypsies and Travellers haven’t just lived in Britain for centuries, they’ve defended it and died for it too

Irish Travellers just got off the ferry, right? Wrong.

The persecution of Roma and Sinti reached a horrific level during the Second World War.

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

1498 Four Gypsies travel to the New World with Christopher Columbus. 1505 King James the Fourth of Scotland pays seven pounds to “Egyptians” stopped at Stirling, who may have come from Spain. Parish records from around this time show that Irish Travellers are already living in England. Continues on page 6

What’s going on in the East Midlands Region Cambridgeshire Romany writer Kathleen Cunningham is continuing the long Gypsy tradition of capturing the past in poetry

Follow this timeline throughout the magazine to trace the Gypsy and Traveller journey through British history

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: Copywriter: Damian Le Bas – Email: Research and photos: Patricia Knight – Email: Design: Graham Alexander – Email: Part financed by: The Department for Children Schools and Families. To advertise in the October edition of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine contact the Gypsy Media Company Ltd.

The Gypsy Media Company

department for

children, schools and families


Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, What’s going on in the East Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, South East Region Thames Valley and Oxfordshire Throughout June What: The Living Album - Hampshire’s Gypsy Heritage. This project aims to help the public to discover and access relevant museum and archive collections on Hampshire’s Gypsy and Traveller community in a creative as well as an informative way. The team of costumed interpreters will also be performing their play “The Crossroads” about a Victorian Romany Wedding on 7, 14, 15 and 29 June. Phone for start times. Where: On display at Milestones Museum, Leisure Park, Churchill Way West Basingstoke RG22 6PG Contact: 0845 603 5635

June 3-27 What: Romany and Traveller Family History Society Exhibition. Where: Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND Contact: 01483 518782

June 6-7 What: Epsom Derby, Epsom, Surrey One of the biggest horse racing events in Britain with a long Gypsy history and big Gypsy attendance. Where: Epsom Racecourse, Epsom Downs, Epsom, KT18 5LQ

June 14-15 What: Open days about rural industries including Nobby Melrose opening his Gypsy caravan and explaining how he built it. Where: Rural Life Centre, Reeds Road, Tilford, GU10 2DL Contact: 01252 795571

June 16-21 What: Exhibition on ‘Queen Victoria’s Gypsies’ – The history of Matty Cooper, the Royal Ratcatcher. Where: Windsor Library, Bachelors Acre, SL4 1ER Contact: 01753 743940/743941

Friday June 20 What: Film screening of Travellers Tales and Gypsy Caravan: Where the Road Bends and after film discussion led by Gypsy journalist Jake Bowers. Where: Kino Cinema, Rye Road, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook, Kent, TN18 4ET. 01580 754323 Time: 8:00pm

Saturday June 21 What: An evening of Gypsy music and food, featuring Ambrose Cooper and Lee Winter. Tickets cost £10 (must be bought in advance). Where: Romany Life Centre, 3 Oaks Nursery Whitewell Lane, Cranbrook, TN17 2PP Contact: 01580 715825

Sunday June 22 What: Film screening of Latcho Drom by Romani Film Director Tony Gaitlif. Introduced by Friends, Family and Travellers. Where: Duke of York’s Cinema, Preston Circus, Brighton Time: 11:00am Contact: 01273 626261 What: A day of Gypsy music, food and workshops with master craftsman the Brazil Brothers. Try your hand at bender making, Gypsy scroll work and see old Gypsy vardos. Time: From 11:00am until late. Where: The South East Romany Museum, Howland Road, Marden, Kent TN12 9DH Contact: 01622 831681 M[ ^Wl[ W Z_l[hi[ hWd][ e\ Feb_Y[ IjW\\ 9_l_b_Wd YWh[[h effehjkd_j_[i Wj Ikhh[o Feb_Y[$ =e je mmm$ikhh[o$feb_Y[$ka \eh ceh[ _d\ehcWj_ed ed Ykhh[dj lWYWdY_[i WdZ Z[jW_bi ed ^em je Wffbo$ 7ffb_YWj_ed ikffehj _i WlW_bWXb[ \hec oekh beYWb @eXY[djh[ Fbki eh \eh Wdo ::7 [dgk_h_[i fb[Wi[ YWbb H[cfbeo ed &.*+ .*+ ((''$ Ikhh[o Feb_Y[ m_bb dej jeb[hWj[ Wdo \ehc e\ Z_iYh_c_dWj_ed$ ?\ oek YWddej fhecej[ Z_]d_jo" h[if[Yj WdZ [gkWb_jo" fb[Wi[ Zed½j Wffbo$


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Monday June 23 What: Film screening of Travellers Tales and Gypsy Caravan. Where: Electric Palace Cinema, 39a High Street, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3ER. Time: 7:15pm Contact: 01424 720393

Saturday June 28th 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

Monday July 7 What: Thorney Fair, a celebration of Gypsy and Traveller Culture in and around the New Forest. Old Gypsy wagons, market stalls, traditional foods and lots more. An event for the whole community and suitable for all ages. Where: Thorney Hill Community Centre, Burley Road, Bransgore, Christchurch BH23 8DQ Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm Contact: Sam Wilson, Hampshire Traveller Education Service 07860 196546 Jane Peacock, Forest Bus 02380 663866

Friday July 11 What: Traveller Open Day including storytellers, this year involving school children, in history projects, children and grandparents. Where: Yateley Green, Hampshire

Not to be missed … Gypsies and Travellers from across Kent and Sussex have organised a weekend festival of Gypsy and Traveller culture spread across 3 independent cinemas and two Gypsy museums. Among the festival’s highlights are Gypsy music road movies Latcho Drom and Gypsy Caravan. But to see Gypsy culture and music close up do not miss a rare public performance by Romany singer songwriters Ambrose Cooper (pictured) and Lee Winter at the Romany Life Centre in Cranbrook Kent on June 21st.

What’s going on in the London Area London’s contribution to this year’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month reflects its position as an international crossroads, where Gypsy cultures meet. Monday June 2 What: House of Lords presentation by Lord Avebury to the winners of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month poster competition. Where: House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW What: Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Exhibition

June 2-20

Wednesday June 4 What: Official Launch of GRTHM. Where: Centre for Staff Development Gwenneth Rickus Building, 240-250 Brentfield Road, London NW10 8HE Contact: Rocky Deans, 0208 9373329

Wednesday June 4

When: Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Touring Exhibition. Where: Brent Town Hall, Forty Lane, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 9HD Contact: Brent TES 0208 937 3328

Sunday June 15 What: In concert Frontier Flamenco With Simon El Rubio & Flamencovino. Sizzling evening of flamenco, Latino, bolero and rumba. Where: Le Quecumbar, 42-44 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX, For tickets contact: 020 7787 2227

June 2-30 What: Passing Places Touring Exhibition. Passing Places started as an exhibition and series of events. The exhibition is now touring the UK. The focus is on Gypsy-Traveller history, culture, lifestyles and traditions. Where: To celebrate GRTHM the exhibition will be held at two venues. From the 2nd – 13th June it will be at West Drayton Primary School. Then from the 16th-30th June it will be at Bell Farm Christian Centre. Contact: West Drayton Primary School, Kingston Lane, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 9EA 01895 442904 Contact: Bell Farm Christian Centre, South Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 9LW 01895 444406

Tuesday June 3 What: Gypsy History Seminar: All Change! Recent Debates over the history and origin of Roma/Gypsies/Travellers. Featuring: Professor Ian F. Hancock, Director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center, University of Texas at Austin; Dr Brian Belton, of the YMCA George Williams College; Adrian Marsh, of the University of Greenwich; Mr. Valdemar Kalinin, of Camden Traveller Education Service; Mr Damian James Le Bas Jr. of the University of Oxford; Mrs Janet Keet-Black of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society. Where: Lecture Theatre KW302, King William Building, Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich, Time: between 10.30am – 4.00pm Contact: Professor Thomas Acton at the University of Greenwich. 0208 331 8923

June 8 & 9 What: Stephane Wrembel in concert, direct from New York the International French guitar wizard Gypsy Swing and Gypsy roots from around the world. Where: Le Quecumbar, 42-44 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX, For tickets: 020 7787 2227

Sunday June 22 What: Concert celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Bands and artists performing include: Orchard Family (Romanichal), Brigid Corcoran (Irish Traveller) and Romani Rad (Roma). Time: 6.00pm – 10.00pm Where: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1. Nearest tube: Holborn Contact: Roma Support Group 020 7511 0822 Email:

What: ‘Absinthe Night’ With Flamenco Group Carambita. Where: Le Quecumbar, 42-44 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX, For tickets contact: 020 7787 2227

June 26-27

Tuesday June 24 What: Traditional Irish Traveller Story Telling by Irish Traveller Rose McCarthy and exhibition including Traveller items from Bruce Castle museum. Where: St Ann’s Library, Cissbury Road, Tottenham, London N15 5PU Time: From 2.00pm Contacts: Michael Ridge 0208 489 3602/07980 31 6607

Thursday June 26

Top of column, singer Brigid Corcoran and above, a photo by Zsuzsanna Ardó from a photo Exhibition “How Long Is the Journey?“ Both can be seen at Conway hall in London on June 4th.

What: Irish Traveller Play – Performed by Michael Collins - An evening of entertainment, music and song. All entertainers are Irish Travellers. Where: Centre for Staff Development Gwenneth Rickus Building 240-250 Brentfield Road London NW10 8HE Time: 7.00 – 9.00pm Contact: Rocky Deans, 0208-9373329

Wednesday June 4 What: In concert, The Dusa Orchestra, Swinging soulful Gypsy-Balkan music from southeast Europe. Where: Le Quecumbar, 42-44 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX, For tickets Contact: 020 7787 2227

Stepdancers and singers The Orchard Family. Tom, Jean and their son Ashley come from true Gypsy stock, one with strong music traditions. Their ancestors have lived in Devon and Cornwall for more than 400 hundred years. This multiinstrumental, singing and dancing family promise to be a treat. The Orchard Family are part of the line up to perform at the Conway Hall on June 4th. What: Irish Traveller Cultural Celebration, featuring: • Talks and presentations on Irish Traveller culture and history by the community • An Irish Traveller Youth Talent show. • Traveller Movement in Britain DVD on Traveller role models • Traditional Traveller art & craft workshops and displays Where: Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith, Blacks Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DT Contact: Irish Travellers Movement in Britain, 020 7607 2002

June 18-27 What: Exhibition celebrating Gypsy Traveller Culture and Traditions. Where: Phoenix Centre Library, Roundshaw, Sutton, Surrey, SM6 Contact: Sarah Gwynn, Sutton & Merton Traveller Education Service, 0208 648 3267

June 3-27 What: Exhibition celebrating Gypsy Traveller Culture and Traditions. Where: Merton Heritage Centre, The Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham CR4 4HD Opening Times: Tues/Weds 10.00am – 4.00pm; Fri/Sat 10.00am – 4.30pm Contact: Sarah Gwynn, Sutton & Merton Traveller Education Service, 0208 648 3267

No mean time in the capital Rad and Irish Traveller music by Brigid Corcoran at a evening concert at Conway On June 3rd, Gypsy historians and Hall, kicking of a month of celebrations in academics, including world renowned the capital. English Romany scholar, author and linguist Don’t miss events at Le Quecumbar, Professor Ian Hancock, debate the latest the only venue in the world dedicated thinking on the origins of Gypsies and to Gypsy Jazz. A unique wine bar from Travellers at the University of Greenwich. a bygone era: pre-war France, with Hot Just one day later, the music of English Club Gypsy jazz, invented by the Gypsy Romany stepdancers and folk singers Jazz legend Django Reinhardt. After June the Orchard Family will be followed 22nd they’ll be heading for the Django by Polish Romany music from Romani Reinhardt festival in Samois in France. Not to be missed …

Romani Rad is a group of Roma dancers and musicians from Poland. Theirs is the tradition expressed by costume, music and dance, skills handed down from generation to generation.


Scottish Travellers

From the Highlands to the Borders, Scotland has a Gypsy history that has yet to be recognised, writes Damian Le Bas The fact that the first record of Gypsies in mainland Britain is in Scotland is only one reason why Scottish Travellers (or “Nackins” as some call themselves) should have a pride of place in any Gypsy history. Travelling smiths are mentioned as far back as the 12th Century in Scotland, and King James the Fourth paid seven pounds to ‘Egyptians’ who were stopped at Stirling in 1505. Toleration of the Scottish Gypsies was disrupted by the Reformation in the mid-1500s. But as with all Traveller populations, survival against the odds is one of the things that Scottish Travellers have done best. There is a rich variety of languages among Scottish Travellers who until recent times had a history of living in Bender tents, as did many Travellers south of the border. Some speak Cant or Romani, some speak ‘Beurla-reagaird’ which is related to the Shelta that Irish Travellers use. Scotland’s Travellers may be best known for their genius in music and storytelling. The singer Belle Stewart, who

died in 1997, was given the British Empire Medal in 1981. Jeannie Robertson, another Scottish Traveller, was singing at the same time as Belle and there may have been a slight rivalry between them but one thing was for sure, they sang like nobody else from across the country. Along with singing, storytelling is something Scottish Travellers do better than most. Jess Smith’s books are priceless and moving accounts of Traveller life that have pride of place in Gypsy literature today. Scottish Travellers are an ethnic minority, but they are not currently recognised as one by law. Scottish Traveller and artist Seamus McPhee states that “It’s a blatant negation of our existence and our right to exist. We know it’s a ploy to deny us our rights.” The Scottish Parliament have recommended that Scotland’s Travellers should be treated as an ethnic minority. But as Seamus puts it, “There’s no legal remedy at the moment in Scotland or in Britain as a Scottish Gypsy Traveller”. Regardless of what the law decides, Britain’s oldest community of Travellers will still be here in the future and continue to contribute their songs, stories and characters to our way of life.

What’s going on in the East Region

Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk

Throughout June What: Traveller Life exhibition including bender tent, Gypsy and Showman’s wagons and Vickers trailer caravan. Where: Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, IP14 1DL. Times: Mon – Sat 10.00am – 17.00pm, Sun 11.00am – 17.00pm

June 2-7 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Exhibition. Where: Dunstable Library, Vernon Place, Dunstable, LU5 4HA Contact: 01582 608441

June 4-8 What: Romany Heritage Exhibition. Where: Ipswich Library, Northgate Street, IP1 3DE

June 9-14 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Exhibition. Where: Leighton Buzzard Library, Lake Street Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1RX Contact: 01525 371788

June 9-15

June 24-28

What: Romany Heritage Exhibition. Where: Lowestoft Library, Capham Road South, NR32 1DR

June 16-21 What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Exhibition. Where: Biggleswade Library, Chesnut Avenue, Biggleswade, SG18 0LL Contact: 01767 312324

June 17-22 What: Romany Heritage Exhibition. Where: Mildenhall Library, Chestnut Close, IP28 7NL

What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Exhibition. Where: Barton Library, Bedford Road Bedford, Bedfordshire MK45 4PP Contact: 01582 881101

Wednesday June 25 What: Gypsy and Traveller Open Day. Where: Traveller Education Service, Alec Hunter Humanities College, Stubbs Lane, Braintree, CM7 3NT Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm Contact: 01376 340360

Many of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history month events to be held across the East of England are to be held in schools, libraries and council offices. Among them Scottish Traveller storyteller Jess Smith, will be entertaining and educating young people in schools across Suffolk. The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has a large display of Gypsy and Traveller homes, from a bender tent to an ornate Vickers Caravan at the heart of its beautiful display on local life. For those who want to see the best that Gypsy and Showman culture has to offer visit the Cambridge Midsummer Fair on June

1530 Gypsies are forbidden to enter England under Henry VIII. Those already there are deported. 1554 Queen Mary of England passes the Egyptians Act. Being a Gypsy is punishable by death, as is being found in “the fellowship or company of Egyptians”. This is the only time that fraternizing with an ethnic community has been punishable by death. 1570s Scottish Gypsies are ordered to stop travelling or leave the country. First records of the Kale Gypsies in Wales.

The first recorded Gypsy presence in Leeds is in the Leeds Parish registers of 1572. 1650s Last known hanging for the crime of being a Gypsy, in Suffolk, England. Gypsies are deported to America. 1660-1800 English Gypsies calling themselves Romanichals survive by working for trusted non-Gypsies who know them. Appleby Fair granted chartered fair status in 1685 by James II. Ballinasloe Fair receives its royal charter in 1722. 1714 British Gypsies are shipped to the Caribbean as slaves.

1780 Some English anti-Gypsy laws begin to be repealed.

June 23-29

Not to be missed …

The Gypsy and Traveller journey throughout British history continues …

1768 The first modern Circus is held in London.

June 18-24 What: Cambridge Midsummer Fair. Ancient Gypsy Fair in one of Britain’s most beautiful cities. When: 18-24, but the biggest day is the 21st Where: Midsummer Common, Cambridge, CB4 1HA What: Romany Heritage Exhibition. Where: Bury St Edmunds Library, Sergeants Walk, St Andrews Street North, IP33 1TX

Timeline #2

See traditional wagon art on display in June in the East of England.

21st. King John granted a charter for the Midsummer Fair back in 1211, though it now exists solely as a funfair. The Mayor of Cambridge still proclaims it open by throwing coins to assembled children. Many of the events held across England during Gypsy History Month will be featured on BBC Rokker Radio, the eastern regional radio programme for Gypsies and Traveller broadcast on the following radio stations between 7 and 9pm every Sunday night. BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Essex. The show is also available on the internet at: shtml?three/rokker_radio

1800s Fairs start to include mechanical rides, as they still do today. 1820s Tents start to be used for fairs under George IV. 1830s Covered horse drawn wagons begin to be used by Gypsies in Britain. Many Gypsies live in the more makeshift bender tents, and will continue to do so until the midlate 20th Century. 1880s Agricultural depression in England. Many Travellers and Gypsies are poverty-stricken and move to urban squatters’ areas. Hundreds of Irish Travellers leave Ireland for Britain. Continues on page 16


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Act of Compassion

Not all legislation has been designed to wipe out Gypsies and Travellers. Forty years ago, the Caravan Sites Act made sites for Gypsies a legal duty. Damian Le Bas meets the man behind it, the campaigning Lord Avebury. In Britain, like the rest of Europe, laws affecting Travellers have almost always been designed to destroy their way of life. In the 20th Century it can sometimes look like not much has changed. But we should also remember the people who have fought for Gypsies and Travellers. Eric Lubbock was MP for Orpington in Kent in the 1960s. Life was hard for Travellers then, but Eric Lubbock worked tirelessly to help Travellers help themselves.

In the mid-1960s there were only ten council sites in the whole country. You could only live in a caravan, even on private land, if you held a site license. This meant that only 4% of Gypsies and Travellers had somewhere legal to stop. Violent evictions, which even led to the death of Gypsy and Traveller children, were resisted by Gypsy and Traveller families. It led to the formation of Gypsy and Traveller civil rights groups like the Gypsy Council, but it was Eric Lubbock who fought to change the law.

great work was scrapped by the Conservatives in 1994 as part of the Criminal Justice Act. This has meant that for a lot of Gypsies and Travellers things are as bad today as they were in the early 1960s. But Lord Avebury is still campaigning for human rights today. He has supported Gypsy History Month from the beginning and is still dedicated to improving life for Gypsies and Travellers in Britain.

His work paid off in 1968, when the Caravan Sites Act came into force. For the first time in British history, local councils had to provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers. “In 1968, I introduced a law to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from being evicted from their sites and to compel authorities to build sites for Gypsies and Travellers,” says Eric. But two years later he lost his seat in parliament. “In 1962 the wise, far-seeing people of Orpington elected me as their Member; in 1970 the fools threw me out”. Says Eric.

An eviction in Birmingham in the 1960s.

A year later his cousin died and he succeeded to the peerage, becoming Lord Avebury. And he’s used the past 37 years he has been the House of Lords to support Gypsies and Travellers. But his

Lord Avebury at the launch of the National and Regional poster competition for GRTHM. Here he is in discussion with Delaine Le Bas.

Publications by Romany Poet, Kathleen E Cunningham

A Moving Way of Life ~ collection of new poems £5.00 plus £1 P&P per copy

A collection of poems by Kathleen E. Cunningham dedicated to her grandchildren so that they will always remember their Romany ancestors and in memory of her father, Esau Carman, without whose foresight in sending her to school, they would never have been written. Jell Akai Chavvies Traveller Nursery Rhyme Book - £7.50 plus £1 P&P per copy Jell Akai Chavvies Traveller Nursery Rhyme CD - £5.00 plus £1 P&P per copy Special Offer: If both book & CD purchased together £10.00 plus £2 P&P per copy

A truly delightful collection of Traveller nursery rhymes ~ written and illustrated by Kathleen E. Cunningham. The Great Romany Showman ~ The Life and Travels of Esau Carman £8.00 plus £1 P&P per copy

From the Fens of Cambridgeshire to the fairgrounds of Ireland, Cambridgeshire Romany Poet Kathleen E. Cunningham remembers the life and travels of her grandfather Esau Carman in The Great Romany Showman. Cambridgeshire Race Equality & Diversity Service - Team for Traveller Education CPDC, Foster Road, Trumpington, Cambridge CB2 9NL Phone: 01223 508700 Fax: 01223 506013 Email: Cheques payable to Cambridgeshire County Council


Scroll on! Non-Traveller households across the country contain pictures of idyllic country scenes with a bow top, reading or ledge wagon in the background. As the scholar David Smith has pointed out, the painted wagon (or ‘vardo’ in Romani) is ‘one of the few acceptable symbols of Traveller society’. It has certainly had a huge influence on how we understand English rural life. Gypsy families like the Boswells have helped maintain our pride in this contribution to British culture. Carved scrollwork and bright colours were first used by Travellers on the wagons, drays and trolleys they depended on for livelihood. Both have been part of the British visual landscape for over 200 years. But this only a small part of the influence that the Travelling communities have had on art and decoration.

From traditional scrollwork to high contemporary art, the artistic influence of Gypsies and Travellers is everywhere. can still be seen on the country’s travelling fairs: it was invented by Showmen and Travellers. The Showmen specifically did a lot for the popularity of ribbon work, which even influenced military designs. When we imagine a typical British pub, we will usually think of the cut glass behind the bar and in the windows. Again, it was the Travelling communities who popularised it by building cut glass panels into their living wagons.

The Traveller traditions of craftsmanship are still thriving today. Gypsy and Roma artists have exhibited at the highest levels of the fine art world, and English Gypsies have worked alongside Roma artists from all over Europe, even showing at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the biggest art event in the world. Artists like Ferdinand Koci, Daniel Baker and Damian and Delaine Le Bas are reclaiming the Travellers’ artistic heritage.

Perhaps the most common Traveller design to be absorbed by settled British culture is adorning of china crockery with fruits, flowers and birds. Not many people would look at a cup and saucer decorated with a chaffinch or berry bush and think “We owe that to Travellers”!

For too long, depiction of Travellers has been done exclusively by Gorgers, but this is changing. The GRTHM poster competition has received some fantastic entries from young Travellers so keep up the good work: some of you will be our community’s top artists in the future!

Depicting horses and horse culture is one of many Gypsy traditions in visual art. It had a huge impact on many artists, such as Sir Alfred Munnings and Augustus John. Fishtail lettering

Nottinghamshire, What’s going on in the Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, East Midlands Region Leicestershire and Rutland June 1 onwards What: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller exhibition. Where: Gainsborough Library, Cobden Street, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, DN21 2NG Contact: 01522 782010

Wednesday June 4 What: Launch of five East Midlands five Gypsy and Traveller community projects including “I know when it’s raining: study into emotional health needs and accommodation issues”. Where: The East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ Contact: Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, 01629 583300

The East Midlands is home to some of the most ornate collections of Gypsy culture. 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.

Friday June 6 What: Free transport to Appleby Horse Fair. Leaves Derby 7.30am (additional pick up M1 Junction 28 – 7.45am) Contact: Derby and Derbyshire Traveller Education 01332 256726

Sunday July 13 What: Romany Camp and Culture day. Vardo on display, Gypsy crafts, Display of crystal ball, fortune telling items, Books, DVD’s, Pictures for Sale. LGLG Display boards etc. All welcome. Time: 11.00am – 4.00pm Where: Gainsborough Old Hall, Parnell Street, Gainsborough Lincolnshire, DN21 2NB Contact: 01427 612669

Friday Aug 15 What: Travellers Tales - Children’s storytelling in Gainsborough Library. Where: Gainsborough Library, Cobden Street, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, DN21 2NG Contact: 01522 782010

Monday Aug 25 What: Romany Camp and Culture day. Time: 11.00am – 4.00pm Where: Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Burton Road, Lincoln, LN1 3LY Contact: 01522 528448


Not to be missed … 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. In Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, the museum is open on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays from the 13th of June onwards. Sample some “Boswell’s Romany Brew” from a local brewery made especially for Gypsy History Month. Contact: Gordon Boswell Romany Museum, Clay Lake, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 6BL +44 (0) 1775 710599 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 that go into making Royal Crown Derby so special.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

A unique collection of superb traditional Romany horse-drawn Vardos (caravans), carts and harness. In June, the opening Times of the visitor centre are: Monday – Friday 9:30am – 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) 712800

Poetry in Motion

Cambridgeshire Romany writer Kathleen Cunningham is continuing the long Gypsy tradition of capturing the past in poetry, reports Jake Bowers. Kathleen Cunningham’s bungalow is unremarkable. Like many of the Gypsy homes across the flat fenland landscape, nothing about it gives away her identity from the outside, until you see its name – “Novada”. Like her poetry, it’s subtle, but when she reads it, it comes alive.

it is a British Gypsy history told from the inside. She faithfully recalls stories she heard as a child about her grandfather Esau Carman and blends them with her own poems and drawings that capture a world that should be remembered. She might not have a varda anymore, but her way with words is as strong as ever.

“I called it “No Vada”, because I haven’t got a Varda (wagon) anymore!” she quips and invites me in. At her kitchen table she spreads out the impressive amount of books she’s had published. She wrote as a child, but as an adult the pressures of raising a family and being moved from place to place kept her from it. In later life, when illness struck, she realised that her grandchildren weren’t learning much about the history of her people, she returned to it and she’s been writing ever since. “I realised if I didn’t get my old life into some A Smith/Wilson wedding that appears in the form of writing, my grandchildren wouldn’t book the “Great Romany Showman”. know anything about it.” She’s passionate that they need to learn from the wisdom of their Kathleen’s granddaughter Rose Cunningham-Wilson will ancestors, who may not have been as rich as her be collecting photographs and other materials of Gypsy History Month events across the country to produce and descendants, but were probably happier. publish a national archive that will be turned into a high Her latest book, the “Great Romany Showman”, quality book of photos, drawings, sketches celebrating the reaches far back into that family history. From spirit and nature of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and the Fens of Cambridgeshire to the fairgrounds Gypsy_Ad:Layout 1 06/05/08 13:42 ofPageculture. 1 Call Rose on 07900 678291. Ireland, via Scotland and northern horse fairs,

The Old Turf Fen Just outside March in Cambridgeshire, I can remember when. There used to be a place there called Chatteris old turf fen. It used to be full of Romanies but things were oh! So different then. You could pull on when you wanted to, and park just where you pleased. Stake your horse, light your fire, hang washing out in the breeze. And just whenever you wanted to you could go and move away, Up the Great North Road to Appleby you could spend weeks, months or days, Travelling where you wanted to, selling baskets, pegs or lace, From May until October for you knew there was a place, Without a doubt within your heart when you came back again, There would be a spot for you on the Chatteris old turf fen. You didn’t have to ask the council or the local people there, You didn’t have to be in the ‘Showmans Guild’ or part of the Status Fair. You just hitched up your horse, and moved where fancy called, For the common land belonged to everyone, and welcomed one and all, The men would race their dogs and pony traps across its vast expanse, Play ‘Pitch and Toss’ and horseshoe quoits, sit around an outside fire, play music, sing and dance. Of all the modern Gipsy sites there never will be one of them, that will have the atmosphere and character of ‘The Chatters Old Turf Fen!”.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

is proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Achieving safer and more sustainable communities

Transport that works for everyone Our job is to create the strategic framework for transport services, which are provided by many public and private organisations, from our own executive agencies and local councils to operators such as airlines, bus, train and ferry companies.

As an employer, we are committed to supporting equality and diversity in our business, working relationships and employment practices. The Department for Transport takes diversity seriously and is committed to raising the profile of diversity, both within the Department and also across the transport industry as a whole.

Our core policy objective is transport that works for everyone. This means we have to be diverse Our job is transport that all can in every policy we develop and in use delivered in a way that benefits the whole community. everything we do.


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GRTHM Activity Competitions As part of the June celebrations of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month we have devised a number of activity competitions for you to show off your talents.

Activity 1:


Look at the maps that Ferdinand Koci (part of it below) and Damian Le Bas (middle poster at the bottom of the next page) have made. For larger versions please go to activities.

There are 13 altogether. We hope that you find them challenging. We hope that you will explore and learn something of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. And we hope to reward you for your efforts with …


You may do them individually at home, or in school or clubs and also as groups working together on any of these different projects. See activities 1 - 12. Educational establishments and/ or organisations can submit a portfolio of work which will reflect your activities leading up to and during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. See activity 13. There are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers all over the world and they have a fascinating history and culture and they have brought many new skills and ideas to many different parts of the world. In doing some of these activities and challenges you will be experiencing what it is like to use your imagination and skills to solve problems and create something new. Are you a budding musician or songwriter? A prospective designer or artist? How's your photography? Perhaps you'd like to have a go at something you've never tried. We bet most of you won't have tried to design a fairground ride before. What about looking after the environment and recycling? Perhaps this is something you've never considered.

And why should you enter? Get involved because there are loads of prizes to be won!

Can you explain what these maps are showing? Are they describing a journey or something else? Using some of their ideas and your own - create your own map – it could be about anything - your last holiday, your favourite walk or mapping out where your family or friends live ... you decide. Try and make them as bright and attractive as possible so we will all enjoy looking at them.

Activity 2:

Languages The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities speak many different languages as they live across the world in many different countries. They also have their own languages – Anglo Romani/ Poggerdy Jib, Cant, Gamin and Romanes. We know how important languages are and how they can enrich your life by being able to communicate with people from different countries and heritages. We would like you to send in a story or poem in any language – please put the name of the language after the title to help us.

How to Enter


Entry is quite simple!

Please see for more details, including FAQs, some links for reference and the rules for entering.

Activity 3:

If you need to get in touch for any reason, whether to clarify anything, ask us something we may not have been clear on (it’s possible!) or simply to say Hi! use the info below.

Use one of the 5 Art Posters produced by the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Artists to celebrate GRTHM as an inspiration for your poem.

We are looking for original and exciting ideas. Use your imagination and be creative. Then send the results to us! And make sure it arrives before 25th July 2008. If you're writing poetry, stories or ideas, especially if you are using a computer, you could email them to us using this address:


Telephone: +44 (0) 113 2748050

Please make sure your file isn't bigger than 5mb though. If you have larger files, put them on a CD if you can and send it to us. And the address for sending all your entries is on the right.

Write to: GRTHM Activities, GRTAS, West Park, Spen Lane, Leeds LS16 5BE

We had thousands of entries for the poster competition that preceded the History Month so we hope to see many creative and exciting entries once again!


Good luck!

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

For example: El caballo blanco (Spanish).

Poster - Poem Activity 4:

Poster - Story Use one of the 5 Art Posters produced by the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Artists to celebrate GRTHM as an inspiration for your story. You may wish to analyse the poster, do some research and write about the work or write a critique. You could also use it as the starting point for your own story.

Activity 5:

Shelters and/ or Dens When Gypsy, Roma and Travellers moved from place to place they would need to make shelters and somewhere to have protection from the weather. Sometimes these shelters were made, used for a time and then left, and other times they were made so they could be used again. The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities were one of the first to make tents to live in and take with them when they moved. If you do some research and look at old photographs you will see that they had a range of different tents for different climates and some were very elaborate. We would like you to design and/or build your own shelter or den – you may have one already and can draw a plan of it and send some photos or it may be something that you will do as part of this project. It can be made of anything you have easily available and it can be moveable or not – you decide. Please take care when building!

Activity 6:

Photographs In the early days of photography the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, like many others, did not usually take their own photographs and yet they treasure old photographs of family, friends and places they have stayed. Send in a photograph that is important to you and describe what is happening in the photograph and why you like it. It could be one you have taken or one of you, your friends, family, community or of anything ...

Activity 7:

Activity 11:

Explore some of the great artists and performers from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and also how these communities have been depicted by many famous artists e.g. Van Gogh.

The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have often built businesses on what people throw away. They have made pegs using old tin cans, cut into strips, to hold the peg together. They have used reeds from riverbanks to make baskets. They have collected scrap metal to recycle and avoid it being wasted in land fill sites.

Artwork You could use any of these for inspiration and we hope you will try some different art techniques – printing, collage etc – all work submitted needs to be 2D or photographs of 3D and description of work also welcomed.

Activity 8:


You could listen to some of the great Gypsy, Roma and Traveller musicians and also see how they inspired many of our great classical composers (see our website www. Listen carefully to the many different types of music and create your own piece. You may write and/or record it. Please send a tape or digital file (Maximum length 3 minutes).

Activity 9:


Think about what is around you and how much is thrown away. Can you do anything to improve the situation and save any waste. Try and come up with an idea and send it to us. The best ideas will be rewarded and they will have benefited us all – so get saving the waste!

Activity 12:

Fairground Ride or Circus Act Most people will have had fun at the fair and many may have been be to the circus. But this is your chance to look at the show from a different point of view. Could you invent a new ride or act? For this competition that’s what we’d like you to do.


What would it look like and how would it work?

Many Gypsy, Roma and Travellers write great songs. Listen to some of them and then write and/or record your own. Please send tape or digital file (Maximum length 3 minutes) and text.

Activity 13:

Please send drawings and explanations.


Activity 10:

to achieve the GRTHM Standard Award

Who do we think we are (WDWTWA?)

For all phases of education and/or organisations please submit a portfolio of work which will reflect your activities leading up to and during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

Our own individual histories are really interesting and also those of our friends and communities. The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have very close family networks and their history has largely been carried orally. They can speak in great depth about their families and stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

This portfolio will reflect the quality of work leading up to and during GRTHM. It may list the policies, action plans, events, outcomes – examples of work produced and engagement of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in this celebration.

In June there is WDWTWA week (see their website) and we hope you will get lots of ideas from that great web site. We would like you to map out ‘who do you think you are’.

(The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard and the Inclusion Chartermark produced by Education Leeds see have very useful guidelines for these portfolios).

You could do this in many different ways – it could be a portrait or photograph with your likes/dislikes and/or about your family and relatives, stories about your own history or family or community history.

Below are the five Poster produced by professional GRT artists specially for GRTHM. They are available as A2 posters or postcards from From left to right Ferdinand Koci, Daniel Baker, Damian Le Bas, Delaine Le Bas and Lloyd Holland.


Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Hall of Fame If newspapers were to be believed, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are guilty of everything and capable of nothing. To read about Gypsies, Roma and Travellers that have made their mark beyond Britain, see: In 1953, the Encyclopaedia Britannica proclaimed: “The mental age of the average adult Gypsy is thought to be about that of a child of ten. Gypsies have never accomplished anything of great significance in writing, painting, musical composition, science or social organisation. Quarrelsome, quick to anger or laughter, they are unthinkingly but not deliberately cruel. Loving bright colours, they are ostentatious and boastful, but lack bravery.”

Martin Taylor

The following Gypsies, Roma or Travellers are just some of the many household names across Britain. Jake Bowers

Sir Michael Caine

(Ayrshire, Scotland, 1956) Martin Taylor is a self-taught guitarist of international prestige. He is a Romanichal. Among his achievements, he has been granted the British Empire Membership for his services to music in 2002, has got the British Jazz Award as best guitarist ten times between 1987 and 2001, the Honorary Doctorate University of Paisley, Scotland in 1999, Pioneer to the Life of the Nation in 2003 and other honours and medals.

(Rotherhithe, London, 14/3/1933) Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, it was a tradition of his Romanichal family to call the firstborn son Maurice. As an actor, he has twice won Oscars (1986 and 1999). He was knighted in the year 2000 for his contribution to performing arts.

John Bunyan

(Elstow, Harrowden, Bedfordshire, 28/11/1628 – Snow Hill, London, 31/8/1688)

Ferdinand Koci’s painting, created for our poster competition depicts many famous Gypsy Roma and Travellers. Posters and postcards are still available.

Django Reinhardt

(Liberchies, Belgium, 23/1/1910 - Fontainebleau, France, 16/5/1953) Jean-Baptiste Reinhardt was the first and still the greatest European jazz musician. His origins have never been a mystery, he belonged to one of the most numerous German Sinti families, of the Eftavagarya group. Even after two of his fingers were seriously damaged by an accident, Django outstandingly performed violin, guitar and banjo with the use of his healthy fingers. Django’s particular style is also defined “Gypsy Jazz”.

Yul Brynner

(Vladivostok, 7/7/1915 – New York, 10/10/1985) An undoubtedly controversial person, his origins have been a mystery for many. Actually he had only 1⁄4 of Romany blood. It was among Roma that he began his adventurous life, playing guitar in Romany circles and working as a trapezist in circus. He was elected Honorary President of the Roma, an office that he kept until his death.

Sir Charles Chaplin

(Walworth, London, 16/4/1889 – Vevey, Switzerland, 25/12/1977) Born Charles Spencer Chaplin, his parents were music hall artists. It is usually assumed that he was Jewish, an assertion that seems not to be true. His mother, Hannah Smith, was Romanichal, and probably also his father was.


people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools.

George Bramwell Evens

(Hull, 1884 - Wilmslow, Cheshire, 1943) George Bramwell Evens was a very popular BBC journalist, better known as “Romany of the BBC”. His broadcasts about nature and life in the countryside inspired David Attenborough and David Bellamy.

Louise Doughty

(Rutland, East Midlands, 1963) Louise Doughty was born in 1963 in the East Midlands, UK. She grew up in Rutland, England’s smallest county, a rural area that later provided the setting for her third novel, Honey-Dew. After her first three novels, Doughty took a dramatic departure with her fourth, the internationally acclaimed Fires in the Dark, the first in a series of long novels based on the history of the Romany people and her own family ancestry. It was followed by Stone Cradle in 2006.

John Bunyan was the author of the most popular classic of Christian literature: “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. He is widely considered by historians as a “Tinker”, a name given in Great Britain and Ireland not only to Gypsies but also to other Traveller groups. Parish registers of the 16th century describe the Bunyans as “Egyptians”.

Gypsy men are great sportsman, on the field and in the boxing ring.

Elvis Presley

Eric Cantona (24/5/1966)

Raby Howell (12/10/1869 – 1937) Romanichal, Sheffield United, Liverpool (GB)

(East Tupelo, Mississippi, 8/1/1935 – Memphis, Tennessee, 16/8/1977)

Manouche Leeds, Manchester United (GB)

Elvis Aaron Presley’s ancestors came from Germany in the early 18th century and their original surname was Pressler. They were part of the Sinti people commonly known as “Black Dutch”, also called “Chicanere” or “Melungeons”. It is also likely that his mother Gladys Love Smith was a Romanichal.

Caló Arsenal (GB), Real Madrid

Rita Hayworth

(New York, US, 17/10/1918 – New York, US 14/05/87) An American Romany actress who rose to stardom in the 1940s as the era’s leading sex symbol. She was known as “The Love Goddess”, and was celebrated as an expert dancer and a great beauty.

Bob Hoskins

(Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk, 26/10/1942) Robert William Hoskins, as many Gypsies, spent his youth travelling and performing occasional activities like working in circus. Then he turned to the cinema and succeeded as actor. His family on his mother’s side are German Sinti.

Mother Teresa

(Uskub, Macedonia 26/08/1910 – Calcutta, India 05/09/1997) An Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the missionaries of charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. By the 1970s she had become internationally known. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

José Antonio Reyes Calderón (1/9/1983) Andrea Pirlo (19/11/1979) Rom, AC Milan, World Cup Winner (Italy) Freddy Eastwood (29/10/1983) Romanichal, West Ham United, Grays Athletic, Southend United (GB) Jem Mace (8/4/1831 - 30/11/1910) Romanichal, Heavyweight Champion of England and World Champion, is considered the “father of modern boxing Johnny Frankham (Reading, 6/6/1948) British Light Heavyweight Champion in 1975, famous for having floored the great Cassius Clay in an exhibition fight.

National and Regional

POSTER COMPETITION RESULTS A major part of the build up to Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month (GRTHM) 2008 was a poster competition run for schools/organisations and individuals. The theme was to create an image to celebrate GRTHM in June and involved finding out about the different histories, cultures and languages of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT).

To help with inspiration five professional GRT artists were commissioned to create a poster (see bottom of page 11). The resulting set of images show a mixture of contemporary and historical GRT lifestyles and language. There were thousands of entries from all over the country and the 5 artists, some who have recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, were at the GRT Achievement Service in Leeds to judge the winners. They were amazed by the range and quality of all the work and found it very difficult to decide. The winners have now been chosen and will be given prizes by Lord Avebury in a House of Lords presentation on the 2nd June. The overall competition winner (see below) will have her entry printed and available for purchase from the GRTAS and GRTHM websites (www. and The other winners will be able to see their work online and the most interesting work will be displayed in an exhibition in June.

Sets of these posters are still available to buy. See for details.

Some of the thousands of entries at the West Park Centre for judging. All the judges commented on how impressed they were with the entries and how hard it was to choose winners.

Delaine “Personally I was looking for individuality, personal comment, interesting use of media and also work that was thought provoking. The future artists from the community are definitely out there and the way the children from the wider community have looked at our culture makes me feel that there is hope for better understanding and breaking down the barriers that have existed for too long. I congratulate all the entrants as I recognise how much effort was put into every art work.”

these artists a chance to have there work seen by a wider audience. The event shows a great interest in the new Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. It also shows how important visual art has been in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller cultures.”

Comments from the Judges

Lloyd ‘The youngsters used a lot of imagination and I was impressed by the range and standard of the work. There were some brilliant pieces especially from the younger children.’

And the Overall Winner is …

Ferdinand ‘It’s nice to see their ideas, it’s surprising how they draw and put things together. It takes you back to times forgotten, when you were a child. It makes you really think again, when you see how honestly and clearly they see the world, the rich language of children and art.’

Damian “I was proud and honoured to be asked to help judge the competition with the other artists. I was astounded at the quality and talent amongst the thousands of entries from the travelling and non travelling communities. It was difficult to choose the winners and runners up as so much hard work had been put into all the entries.” Daniel “I was amazed to see how many artworks had been submitted for the competition. It was really a tough call deciding on the winners because the standard of drawing, painting and design innovation across all the age ranges has been very high with some incredible works being produced. I’m glad that we have been able to give some of

The professional GRT artists hard at work discussing and judging the competition entries. From the left; Damian Le Bas, Lloyd Holland, Delaine Le Bas, Daniel Baker and Ferdinand Koci. More competitions! Exciting international competitions are taking place over the next two months. See pages 10 & 11 for more details.

The overall winner of the competition is Lucy Mongan of Sedgehill School, London.


What’s going on in the North East Region

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

The many events planned across the North East of England don’t just reflect the region’s long history as a hotbed of Gypsy and Traveller activism and culture, but its place where diverse Gypsy and Traveller communities have met. June 3-14 What: North Yorkshire Traveller Support is organising photo exhibitions in 5 libraries in the County. Where: Malton Library, St Michael Street, Malton Norton Library, Commercial Street, Norton Ripon Library, The Arcade, Ripon Selby Library, 52 Micklegate, Selby Stokesley library, Town Centre, Stokesley Contact: 01609 535546

Wednesday June 16 What: The Exhibition Space, Central Library, Leeds. Art Exhibition by professional Roma artist Ferdinand Koci. Includes a the display of the winners and entrants of the Leeds and National Poster Competition. When: Every day from 16th – 29th June

Friday June 20 What: Celebration and History of the Roma people A celebration of Roma people living in Rotherham and a chance to share histories through storytelling, old photographs and music Where: Unity Centre, St Leonards Road, Eastwood, Rotherham S65 1PD Time: Afternoon Contact: Janet Gold 0114 2585913

Saturday June 21 What: Workshops in Leeds Central Library to celebrate GRTHM – with storytelling and art activities. Where: Central Library, Calverley St, Leeds, LS1 3AB Contact: 0113 247 6016

Saturday June 21

Wednesday June 25

Friday June 27

What: Awards for GRT Achievers and presentation to winners of Leeds GRTHM Poster Competition. Where: The Banqueting Suite, Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1UR Time: 6.00pm – 7.30pm Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Wednesday June 25 What: Performance of ‘It’s a Cultural Thing or is it?’ Where: The Carriageworks Theatre, The Electric Press, Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 3AD Time: 1.30pm – 3.00pm Contact: 0113 224 3801

What: Gypsy, Traveller and Roma History in a Day – remembering the hidden history of Gypsies, Travellers and Roma. Where: Northern College, Wentworth Castle, Stainborough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S75 3ET Time: 10.00am – 4.30pm Contact: Janet Gold: 0114 2585913

June 23-30 What: Photographic Exhibition. The exhibition will include photographs of Puck Fair by Daniel Lyons and local images Where: Headingley Library

Tuesday June 24

Thursday June 19 What: Gypsy and Traveller WOMEN – memories retold – a half day remembering the hidden histories of the women Gypsies and Travellers of Doncaster Bring your old photographs, information and treasures. Where: Stainforth Children’s’ Centre, Thorne Road, Stainforth, Doncaster DN7 5BG Time: 1.00pm – 4.00pm Contact: Janet Gold 0114 2585913

What: First GRTHM Concert with Romipen, a Gypsy ensemble from Slovakia. Come and learn new dances and enjoy this exciting music with stories and songs from the internationally renowned Scottish Travellers Sheila Stewart and Jess Smith. Where: St Chads, Headingley Time: 7.30pm–10.00pm Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Not to be missed … A number of prestigious concerts in Leeds will contain Scottish Traveller storytelling from Jess Smith and Sheila Stewart, and Romany music from the Orchard Family and Romipen. Yorkshire will also host performances from Irish Traveller actor Michael Collins and his play ‘It’s a Cultural Thing or is it ?’ Based on the life story of Michael Collins it sets about exploding the myths often created to stigmatise the Traveller communities. True to collaborative theatre, this play is dedicated to Travellers and settled people who stand up to discrimination and prejudice. The Irish Times had this to say about the play: “Entertaining, enriching and provocative - you could hardly ask for more from a show. These


Friday June 27 What: Premiere of ‘All About Us’ DVD. Where: York’s Beacon Conference Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm Contact: Sylvia Hutton, York Traveller Education Support Service 01904 554335

Friday June 27 What: Northern Regional Conference in the Civic Hall ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller participation, aspiration and achievement’. Where: Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1UR Time: 6.00pm – 7.30pm Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Saturday June 21 What: Showing of the film “Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends” Where: Hyde Park Picture House Contact: 0113 275 2045

What: Leeds Second GRTHM Concert. Music, story, drama and songs. Richard O’Neill, Sheila Stewart, Jess Smith, Irish music featuring Traveller musicians and Romipen Gypsy Ensemble. Where: Seven Artspace, 31(a) Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 3PD Time: 7:30pm Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Saturday June 28

Wednesday June 25 What: Irish Session hosted by Derek McGee and featuring guest Traveller musicians, William and Jimmy Dundon. Where: The Chemic Tavern. 9 Johnston Street Leeds LS6 2NG Time: 8.00pm – 11.00pm Contact: 0113 245 7670

What: Leeds Final GRTHM concert with guests from London, Devon and Ireland. Romipen, The Orchard Family, Romani Rad, Brigid Corcoran, Richard O’Neill, Sheila Stewart, Jess Smith and Irish music featuring Traveller musicians. Time: 7.00pm – 10.00pm Where: Banqueting Suite, Civic Hall, Leeds

Thursday 26th June: What: Performance of ‘It’s a Cultural Thing or is it?’ Where: Otley Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AN Performances at 1.00pm & 8.00pm Time: 7:30pm onwards Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Friday 27th June: What: Northern Regional Conference in the Civic Hall ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller participation, aspiration and achievement’. Includes launch of DVD “The First Traveller”. Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm

engaging true tales portray the discrimination and hardship routinely experienced by the Traveller community.” Further a field, events focusing on the history and culture of Romany communities have been planned in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

Saturday June 28 What: GRTHM Open Day at the Civic Hall to raise awareness about the GRT communities through music, storytelling and art. Time: 11.00am – 3.00pm Where: Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1UR Contact: Peter Saunders, 0113 274 8050

Contact: Jane Donaldson: Senior Library Assistant, Western Bank Library, Sheffield S10 2TN. Telephone: 0114 22 27231 Fax: 0114 22 27290

The North East is also home to The National Fairground Archive (NFA) at the University of Sheffield. Housed in the Western Bank Library, it is a unique collection of photographic, printed, manuscript and audiovisual material covering all aspects of the culture of travelling Showpeople, their organisation as a community, their social history and everyday life; and the artefacts and machinery of fairgrounds. With over 80,000 images in the photographic collection, the collection also includes a unique body of fairground ephemera (programmes, handbills, posters, charters and proclamations, plans and drawings).

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Above, The Orchard Family; left, Sheila Stewart MBE. Also on this page from left to right; artwork by Ferdinand Koci, Jess Smith, Michael Collins and Romipen.

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

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Gypsies and Travellers haven’t just lived in Britain for centuries, they’ve defended it and died for it too, writes Janet Keet-Black. In the Second World War a direct hit destroyed 60% of the records of soldiers who served in the First World War, but amongst the records that remain, many Traveller names are to be found. The Medal Rolls are further evidence of Traveller participation including a number of Military Medals and at least one Victoria Cross. Whilst many stories from WW1 have been handed down through families, Travellers today may not speak of military service in WW2 and later conflicts, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Many photographs of fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins in uniform are to be found in treasured family albums. And while the men were away fighting for their lives and this country’s liberty, many Traveller women did their bit by joining the ATS, ARP or the Land Army. They also drove ambulances or became auxiliary nurses, or went to work in munitions factories. “They all ran off to Ireland,” “Gypsies didn’t go to war,” and “You can’t imagine Travellers being in the Services,” are the kind of ill-informed statements, often spoken with conviction, that dishonour those who served, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Barbara Walsh records the loss in WW1 of two of her great uncles, cousins who had grown up together: “Everyone went out of the yard to see them off. The two young Abrahams laughed as they waved and walked away into their uncertain future.

A few amongst many: Samuel Brazil, died 1918. Benjamin Lee, died 1917. J Ripley, died 1916. Awarded the Military Medal.

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Alfred Riley Scamp, died 1914 S Scamp, died 1915. Brother to the above.

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Sidney Harris, died 1918. Awarded the Military Medal.

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Leonard Page, died 1945. James Keet, died 1944. Janet Keet-Black is editor of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society, 6 St James Walk, South Chailey, East Sussex BN8 4BU. Janet would like to hear from anyone who has served in the services, and would welcome photographs.

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Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Gypsy & Traveller Liaison Officer, PC Kevin Moore wants to meet You!

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Henry Keet Jnr 1915-1979, Janet’s father, just one of many Gypsy and Traveller men who fought for Britain.

PC Kevin Moore

9/5/08 16:46:27

Hertfordshire Constabulary is proud to introduce our first Gypsy & Traveller Liaison Officer, working full time within our Diversity Unit.

You can contact Kevin on 01707 354395, 07764 852491 or email

The family stood in silence until the two had disappeared, then they went back to the yard until only my mother stood looking down the empty lane, even after the sound of their boots and their laughter had died away.” “The name Abraham Ripley is recorded twice on the memorial at Hailsham, Sussex, and their young lives were just two amongst the millions that were lost in that dreadful conflict.”

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Kevin is more than happy to listen and learn from anybody who has any advice on travelling community issues.

John Cole who fought in World War 1, picture Courtesy his nephew Peter Cole.


What’s going on in the North West Region Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside June 4-10 What: The biggest Gypsy and Traveller horse fair in the world and the biggest event in the British Gypsy year. Where: Go to Appleby in Cumbria and follow the crowds up onto the hill or down to the river Eden. Other events during Appleby Fair include: • Live Outside Broadcast of BBC Rokker Radio from Appleby Fair between 7 and 9pm on Sunday June 8th, available on 756 AM in the Appleby area. • Education on the Hoof. Activities include: - Education promotion to families and children on the Hill - Early Years activities Stop and Play Spot - Sale of Traveller Education Service resources including a booklet of Irish Traveller recipes compiled by Breda Doran - Living History – reminiscences of Appleby Fair - Educational Research Project for Department for Children, Schools and Families - Go For It! Advice from ESSEX TES - Displays of children’s work relating to GRTHM Where: The Supper Rooms are directly opposite the Appleby Tourist Information Centre, The Moot Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby, Cumbria CA16 6XE Contact: Heather Lawrence Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service Team for Traveller Education 01223 508700

Saturdays in June: What: Gypsy and Traveller Drop in Activities At the Bolton Museum. Where: Bolton Museum and Archive Service Le Mans Crescent, Bolton, Lancashire BL1 1SE Contact: 01204 332211

Timeline #3 The timeline of the Gypsy and Traveller journey throughout British history continues its trace here.

Not to be missed …

If you are looking for a single event that sums up Gypsy and Traveller culture head to the town of Appleby-in-Westmoreland 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 as 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 Sunday 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.

Wednesday June 25

Saturday June 28

Monday June 30


1939-45 World War II. Nazis compose lists of English Gypsies to be interned. In Britain, the government builds caravan camps for Gypsies serving in the forces or doing vital farm work. These are closed when the war finishes. Roma, Sinti and other Gypsies are stripped of all human rights by the Nazis. As many as 600,000 are murdered in camps and gas chambers. This is Porraimos (the devouring), the Roma holocaust in Europe.

1960 New private sites are banned from being built in England by The Caravan Sites (Control of Development) Act. Mass evictions and public harassment of Gypsies and Travellers. Irish Government “Commission on Itinerancy” begins a programme to assimilate Irish Travellers.

What: ‘A Celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Culture’. Where: World Museum Liverpool William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EN Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm Contact: 0151 478 4393

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

1930s-60s Groups of European Roma come to live in Britain.

1945-60 Travellers start to use motor-drawn trailers, and some buy their own land to stop on with them.

What: Gypsy and Traveller Celebration Day; traditional crafts, music, dancing, recording histories and a marquee with displays. Where: Victoria Square, Bolton BL1 1RU Contact: Kath Cresswell, 01204 338150/33

is proud to support the first 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

1908 The Children’s Act makes education compulsory for Travelling children in England by The Children’s Act, but only for half the year.

1934 Django Reinhardt introduces “swing jazz” to the world. A major influence on the development of Jazz.

What: Awards ceremony delivered by local community member. Where: Bolton Council Victoria Square, Bolton BL1 1RU Contact: Kath Cresswell, 01204 338150/33

Friends Families and Travellers

1889 Showmen in Britain form the United Kingdom Van Dwellers Association, later called the Showmen’s Guild, to fight the Moveable Dwellings Bill, which restricts Travellers’ movements.

Appleby Fair (pic: Jo McGuire)

A Century of Service


1905 - 2005


is pleased to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month and hope the events are successful at raising more awareness of your history and community. WAVS provides support and assistance to new and existing voluntary and community groups in Woking Borough. We also have an in-house Volunteer Centre. Please give us a call if you need help in any way. Tel: 01483 751456 Email:

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Continues on page 18

diversity embracing diversity … … committed to equality

Cambridge City Council is proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2008

Irish Travellers just got off the ferry, right? Wrong. If we listen to the way the media talks about Irish Travellers in Britain we might be forgiven for thinking they were a very recent part of British culture. This couldn’t be further from the truth: they have been in mainland Britain for centuries. Tommy Collins of Justice for Travellers has pointed out English parish records that mention Irish Travellers living here more than 500 years ago. Irish Travellers refer to themselves as ‘Pavees’ or ‘the Pavee’ and they are sometimes known by the Irish name of ‘Minceir’. Irish Travellers are a recognised ethnic minority with their own language, called Shelta. This is spoken in different dialects including Gammon/ Gamin and Cant. Tradition is very important to Irish Travellers. Customs such as cleanliness and hygiene, music and singing, horsemanship, the family, respect and care for elders in the community are at the heart of Irish Traveller culture. Being free to travel is an idea that is still very important even for Travellers who live in houses. Through the years Irish Travellers have had diverse dealings with Romany Gypsies and both peoples attend important fairs together, such as Appleby Fair in Cumbria in June. There have also

been many marriages between English and Irish Travellers. Their histories are distinct though and this is a source of pride for both communities. Funereal customs are also different, but the need to show proper honour and respect to the dead is held in common.

For further information contact Bridie Jones of The Irish Traveller Movement on 01227 379206. You can visit the Irish Traveller Movement’s website at

Racism directed at Irish Travellers is commonplace and, as with anti-Romany racism, based on complete ignorance of their culture and traditions. Even politicians often voice disgusting views, and this can encourage violence: in 2003, 15-year-old Johnny Delaney was beaten to death in a racist attack just for being a Traveller. However, the community is strong and determined to improve this situation, as organisations like Justice for Travellers and the Irish Traveller Movement show. Irish Travellers are as much part of the British landscape as any other group. They are recognised as an Ethnic Minority under British law, and many have gone on to contribute to the country’s social and cultural life. Wayne Rooney and David Essex have Irish Traveller roots.

GYPSIES, ROMA AND TRAVELLERS have a right to see their culture celebrated WE support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History month

An image of Irish Travellers on the move. This is one image from a fine photographic collection on Gypsies, held at the Liverpool University Library.


YOU can get early years play and learning activities at

A traveller’s tale told in Jess Smith’s gallus and infectious style. £9.99 pbk The first part of the author’s life story Jessie’s Journey also available from Birlinn.

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 ÂŁ250 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

Available now from all good bookshops or phone BookSource on 0845 370 0067 (quoting ref GRT08) p&p free in the UK


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

Not to be missed …

Remembering the Black Patch Gypsies

Saturday June 7 What: Rock Against Racism Day, Shrewsbury. Gypsy and Traveller exhibition to be displayed in Shrewsbury town centre.

Sunday June 15 What: Kushti Project Staffordshire’s day out to Hartlebury Museum Gypsy and Traveller Heritage Day. Contact: Lynne Powis, 01902 714646 What: “Gypsies: Who are Ya! Hartlebury Gypsy and Traveller Heritage Day Workshops demonstrating basket weaving, peg making, holly wreaths, wagon making/ restoring etc. Free entry for families if a child in family brings with them a home made model of a vardo. Where: Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Worcestershire DY11 7XZ Time: 11.00am – 5.00pm Contact: 01299 250416

Weekend June 16-17 What: 5 minute slots during the Breakfast Show on Radio Shropshire featuring members of the Travelling community taking about their lives; past and present.

Gypsy and Traveller history is recorded in place names across Britain in the many Romany Roads and Gypsy Lanes to be found across the country. But in the built areas of English cities, the places our ancestors used to stop remain hidden under concrete or far off because of fences. But in the West Midlands, descendants of Gypsy families who were removed from the land come together over 100 years later to remember their roots. On July 6th, many of the settled descendants of Esau and Sentinia (Henty) Smith who were evicted from the Black Patch in 1905 will come together on the anniversary of the eviction. If you want to see a bit of Gypsy history, on Sunday 6th July, from 11.00 am meet Ted Rudge, author of “Brumroamin” – the history of Birmingham’s Romany community, at: Soho Foundry Tavern, Foundry Lane, Smethwick,

Group of some Black Patch families in 1898. The man holding the horse on the right is King Esau Smith. West Midlands B66 2LL. The event will be broadcast on BBC WM (96.5 FM) between 1.00 and 4.00pm from the grounds. Contact: 0121 744 5939 On Sunday 15th June 2008, don’t miss “Gypsies – who are ya!” a celebration of Gypsy and Traveller Heritage and culture at Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle. The event, which has been put together with The Worcestershire Gypsy Roma and Traveller Partnership, pupils from Stourport High School and Birchen Coppice, Stourport and Hartlebury Primary Schools is an exciting look at the way the Traveller communities have lived and the way they live today. See advert on the back page.

Timeline #4 The journey throughout British history continues … 1968 Lord Avebury helps to pass the new Caravan Sites Act. From 1970, the Government have to provide caravan sites for Travellers. 1970s-1990s People from the settled community start to take to the road and live in caravans. They are known as “New Age Travellers” in the media. 1994 The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act abolishes the Caravan Sites Act. This is disastrous for all Travellers living in Britain, and more than 5,000 families now have no legal home. Local councils became duty bound to identify land for private purchase by Travellers. Not one local council adhered to this. 1997 Slovak Romani refugees arrive in Dover, England. The media reaction is openly hostile. 2000 The amended Race Relations Act recognises Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority. This has not yet happened in Ireland, where they are seen instead as a “social minority”. Scottish Travellers are still not recognised as an ethnic minority in Scotland. In England, Gypsy-led protests at the ban of the 600 year old fair at Horsemonden in Kent are successful and the ban is finally lifted in 2006. Concludes on back page

What’s going on in the South West and Welsh Regions Romany Gypsy Culture in the Museum of Somerset Somerset County Museum is working with the Traveller Education Service and Romany Gypsies as part of the development work for the new Heritage Lottery-funded Museum of Somerset. The Romany culture will be explored and linked into the displays being developed for the new museum in Taunton, which opens in 2010. A film will be produced, resources acquired and a teaching resource pack created for use across Somerset.

the local Romany story in more detail. Any one with objects, stories of information with a Somerset connection can contact the museum at Below, Suzanne Small’s grandfather, a Romany Gypsy ‘Doing his bit!’ during the First World War. Suzanne and her family now live in Somerset.

Romany gypsies have provided a workforce for farmers in Somerset for many generations. For example, peas and swedes were popular harvests in Stogursy and High Ham. In the future, there is also to be a larger, temporary exhibition, created for Somerset that will tell


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Throughout June What: Gypsy and Traveller displays in libraries across Bristol. Where: Bristol Central Library, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TL Contact: 0117 903 7200

June 4 What: The St. Day Gypsy & Traveller Women’s Group is celebrating their DVD penpal project which links a group of young Gypsy & Traveller women in Cornwall with a similar group in Romania. Where: Teyluva Children’s Centre, St. Day, Cornwall. TR16 5LG Time: 10.30am Contact: TravellerSpace 01736 334 683

June 1-14 & 15 What: Varda Travelling Exhibition - Gulbenkian Prize Finalist. This award winning resource will be at Scolton Museum in Pembrokeshire from the 1st - 14th June. It will then travel to the opening day of the Pembroke Dock Midsummer Festival (contact 0700 580 2315). Where: 1–14 June – Scolton Museum, Spittal, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 5QL Contact: 01437 731 328 June 15 – Pembroke Dock Summer Festival Group, 10 Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock SA72 6UT Contact: 0845 345 5031

Sunday June 15 What: Romany & Traveller Family History. Society members Cathay and Joseph Birch will be attending the Woodland Fair at Worlebury Woods, West-super-mare, with their exhibition of Romany History and Culture. They will also be demonstrating pegmaking. Time: 2.00pm – 5.00pm Where: Water Tower, Worlebury Woods, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset

July 1, 2 & 3 What: Screening of “Gypsy Caravan”, an exhibition of Jack Loveland’s 1960s photographs of Dorset and New Forest Gypsies in the cinema foyer during opening times. Where: Rex Cinema, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4JX When: Tuesday 1st July at 6.30pm, Wednesday 2nd July at 7.15pm, Thursday 3rd July at 7.15pm

The Roma Holocaust The persecution of Roma and Sinti reached a horrific level during the Second World War. No Gypsy can afford to forget the darkest part of our history, which all people must learn from writes Damian Le Bas. Racism against the Roma, and the violence that comes with it, date back as far as history or memory go. A look at the timeline on these pages tells us that in some ways not much has changed. But it was only in recent times that this racism was taken up by an empire that tried to eliminate the Roma for ever.

died. The Romani scholar Ian Hancock estimates that more than 600,000 Roma and Sinti may have been murdered.

Manfri Wood was an English Gypsy who fought in the War who saw what had happened at Belsen concentration camp: “When I saw the surviving Romanies, with young children among them, I was shaken. Then I went over to the ovens, and found on one of the steel stretchers the halfcharred body of a girl, and I understood in one awful minute what had been going on there”.

By the 20th Century Europe’s Gypsies had already experienced centuries of slavery, rejection and ethnic cleansing. There were already anti-Gypsy laws in Germany but under the Nazis things got even harder. The 1935 Nuremberg laws took away their citizenship and categorised them as a racial problem. As Germany took over the countries around it they adopted the same policy. Hungary, Croatia and Romania, Germany’s allies in the war, also stripped their Roma of all their rights. A people with no rights is an easy target for an evil government. So the Nazis started to develop their final solution to the Gypsy “problem”: they would round the Roma up in camps and starve and gas them to death until there were none left alive in Western Europe. The Romani word for what happened is Porraimos which means “devouring”. Nobody knows for sure how many

Hugo, a German Roma survivor stands in the gate of the special Roma camp in Auschwitz Birkenau. As a child Hugo passed through many camps including Auschwitz before he was liberated by the British from Bergen-Belsen. Photo: Anna Kari

Europe’s Roma were lucky to survive at all. Like the genocides against Gypsies in Britain what the Nazis did must never be forgotten. All the Travelling peoples are united by the violence they have faced and it continues to this day. We’re also united by our ability to survive the violence that every European country has subjected us to. (Manfri Wood quoted in Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon, The Destiny of Europe’s Gypsies. London and New York: Heinemann, 1972 p.187).

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Gypsies - Who are ya!


The way we lived and the way we live now Sunday 15th June from 11am-5pm Normal admission rates.

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

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Page 1



To advertise in the October edition of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine, contact the Gypsy Media Company on: 07966 786242

For a rate card see: magazine.html

Timeline #5 2003 Irish Traveller Johnny Delaney, 15, is kicked to death in Cheshire for being “only a f***ing Gypsy”, as Eyewitnesses report. The Judge at his murderers’ trial rules that it was not a racially motivated attack and sentences the killers to 4½ years. 2003 12 Sussex Bonfire Society members arrested for incitement to racial hatred after burning an effigy of a caravan containing images of Gypsy women and children, and pained with inflammatory slogans. 2004 The labour government makes it a legal duty to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Traveller. 2005 The Sun newspaper launches its “Stamp on the Camps” campaign against Gypsies and Travellers. The Conservatives try to get re-elected by targeting Gypsies’ supposed flouting of planning laws. 2006 BBC starts Rokker Radio, the first programme for Gypsies and Travellers in its history. 2008 Britain celebrates the first Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. But in Italy, Roma camps are firebombed by neo-nazis.

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