“Nothing New Under the Sun”: Romany Gypsies, Travellers and their Entwined Historical Relationships with London Working-Class Communities

Greenfields, Margaret and Smith, David M. (2019) “Nothing New Under the Sun”: Romany Gypsies, Travellers and their Entwined Historical Relationships with London Working-Class Communities. International Journal of Roma Studies, 1 (1). ISSN 2462-425X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/ijrs.2019.2957


This paper presents a historical review of policy enactments and urban development which have impacted accommodation options available to British Romany Gypsies and Travellers over the past four hundred years. A combination of policy review; analysis of primary historical documents (local authority reports on ‘Gypsy encampments’ in their areas; Governmental debates; newspaper reports) and secondary data sources (published memoirs and general histories of working class London) are utilised to present both a general historical overview (mainly focusing on the period 1850-2017) of legislative and policy approaches to regulating ‘Gypsy and Traveller encampments’ within Greater London and a series of focused case studies of ‘Gypsy areas’ within the Metropolis. Importantly, the case studies explore the entwined geo-social relationships and long-term impact on local community demographics and culture, of established Romany Gypsy/Traveller residence in a number of working-class areas of London. The paper ends with a brief consideration of the impact on regeneration and gentrification on traditional working class areas of residence, suggesting that such dislocation may lead to the ending of diverse populations in inner city localities, whilst conversely, widespread relocation of former residents to estates on the edge of the city, may increase contact and rejuvenate community relations between Romany Gypsies, Traveller and other populations, in a way which been increasingly disrupted by the ‘othering’ of nomadic groups in popular discourse in the post World War Two period.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Gypsies/Travellers, London, Working-class, Historical community relations
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2019 10:53
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:55
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704179

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