Gypsy Roma Traveller Leeds
The permanent site of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Communities
Gypsies and Travellers in their own words compiled by the Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service is a fantastic read, and gives amazing insights into the lives and times of Travellers in this country.
Unfortunately this book is no longer available.
The collection of stories and personal histories in this rich volume creates a vivid picture of life within the Gypsy and Traveller communities.
One of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Services proudest moments was the publication of this book.
Unfortunately all copies of this book have now been sold but you can read extracts via links at the bottom of this page.
This book is a compendium of real life stories told by Gypsies and Travellers and spanning the best part of the twentieth century. It represents a substantial resource of oral history which will prove increasingly valuable as source material for local archival studies, research and, not least, to inform teachers about Gypsies and Traveller history and culture and aid in the preparation of curriculum materials for improving the quality and accuracy of knowledge for all children.
The DCSF and the National Association of Teachers of Travellers (NATT) have chosen Gypsies and Travellers in Their Own Words and the Open Roads, Open Minds learning resource as part of a purchase of Traveller resources to enrich the curriculum in all schools. The resources will be delivered to 680 schools across the UK.
These stories are personal testimonies of proud, happy, joyful and dignified lives, which are worthy of telling and must stand alone as statements of truth and rich human experience.
These personal and genuinely honest stories are beautifully illustrated with associated pictorial records and thus bringing together a vast and unique collection of hitherto unseen photographic material.
An excellent book, well illustrated. Many of the stories have captions in Romani or Irish Travellers' Cant which will appeal to young Gypsies and Travellers who rarely see their languages in print.
The book is full of photos, many from private collections which draw a graphic picture of the Travelling life.
Through the shadow of the many stories of evictions and prejudice shines out the image of a Travelling community united if nothing else by the discrimination and helping one another to survive.
The book reveals the trials and joys of a Travelling life through the words and pictures of the people themselves.
This is an important book. It is unusual and fascinating. From the mouths of Gypsies and Travellers we are told their own stories, stories which reveal many aspects of people whose lives have been a mystery on the margins of society, a people so often misunderstood and harshly judged. Accompanied by evocative photographs from personal collections, these stories tell of an unwritten England.
Taken from an oral culture, taped interviews have been written down in all their original and entertaining freshness. The questions have been removed so that they read like stories. They reveal a proud people struggling to come to terms with the enormity of societal upheaval during the last fifty years while at the same time trying to preserve their own traditions, language and crafts.
There is a sure poetry in Tilly Kelby's description of how difficult it sometimes is to live a settled life, when she explains how being settled can be unsettled. She declares,
And oddly, for people always on the move, there is a strong sense of belonging, especially in the story of Bobby James who, without hesitation, says that,
Many of the photographs reveal strong images of a bygone age for the people of the road. Sometimes they are poignant in depicting the hostile and difficult circumstances endured but they also reveal a resilience which today is being fully tested by all the new pressures of modern life that threaten the very existence of the Gypsies and Travellers.
When the children of Travellers go to school they are often singled out for rough justice by other children and they are subject to name calling and other types of bullying. The introduction of Council sites has helped alleviate some of the problems families face but the sense of being cooped up in confined space can sometimes give rise to tensions resulting from a lack of privacy. What comes through in all of these personal stories is the pride taken in the family and the strength which is drawn from that. Further strength is taken from their ancient languages of Romanes and Cant which ensure privacy of conversation.
Peter Saunders and his team have bothered to listen to and to ask questions of Gypsies and Travellers themselves. His team includes members of the Travelling Community, a sign of trust engendered in the completion of this most valuable piece of fieldwork about a people all too often misunderstood. This book points to a great wealth of information still waiting to be harvested of a folklore which could so easily be lost forever.
It's by no means a complete list, but on this page in the Culture Section you'll find some books that we feel we can recommend for more in depth study or interest.
Bookstart is a national scheme offering free books to every child and advice to every parent. It encourages parents and carers to share books with children from a very early age.
I was born in Dublin by accident, not by choice. My mother went up there and I was born in 1937. On my Register of Birth it says – "Caravan, so-and-so". Funny thing is that I was born in Dublin and never, ever lived there. My father always stuck to the North of Ireland.
I think it was much better when I was a child than it is now, really. You hadn't as much money or anything, but things were cheap and stopping was good. You could stop on a roadside for forty-eight hours and they couldn't shift yer, with having horses and wagons – but now they shift you any time.
There are differences in the culture and the beliefs and in the way we live. Well me brother's married to someone who was brought up in a house, a girl from Leeds and he lives in a house. More boys seem to marry out than girls. You only hear of a very very odd Travelling girl marrying out but I know an awful lot of men that are married outside. I think it's because Travelling people have got their own ways.
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