Including many photographs from the period, this book gives vivid first-hand accounts of the traditional life of Gypsies from the South-East of England.
The county of Kent, the Garden of England, was also the market garden for London. The regular round of seasonal work - picking hops, fruit-picking and gathering peas, beans and other crops - attracted families of Gypsies who returned to the same encampments and worked on the same farms from one generation to the next.
Stopping Places gives vivid first-hand accounts of the traditional life of these Gypsies, living in bender tents and horse-drawn wooden vardos, until the mechanisation of farming began to reduce the need for casual labour. At the same time, life on the road was becoming increasingly difficult because the traditional stopping places were disappearing. Eventually a whole way of life was swept away, often violently, and the Gypsies were forced to live on the verge or on officially designated council camp sites. Increasingly, the ultimate fate of many Gypsies today is to make the traumatic transition from a nomadic lifestyle to enforced settlement in houses. The events in South East England recounted here, with over 170 stunning photographs, mirror the experience of Travellers across the United Kingdom.
Simon Evans produces radio for the BBC and in May 2004 won a Sony Award for his work on Romany Voices for BBC Radio Kent. He is also a writer, photographer and video-maker. He has a longstanding relationship with the Romany community in Kent and is involved with a number of innovative educational projects which aim to integrate Romany culture into the school curriculum.
Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2005
'I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone with an interest in Gypsy life and history. Wonderful photos. I was delighted to hear all the quotes ... A true account of a lifestyle that was snatched from under our feet' Mick Harrington, a Kent Traveller, Travellers' Times
Published October 2004; 176pp; paperback