Such a good tv programme, this, and just a few days left to see it on BBC iPlayer. I recommend.
Writer Damian Le Bas invites us to join him as he explores a pivotal decade in the lives of Romany people. In the 1960s many were forced to abandon their nomadic way of life for a more settled existence. Focusing on the Home Counties, Damian draws on his own Romany family background and rich film archive to show how Gypsy people faced becoming outlaws in their own land. Regular stopping places for their caravans were drying up and tighter planning laws put further pressure on finding somewhere to live.
Local and national government were slow to react to a mounting crisis for a group of citizens with a distinct culture but living on the margins of society. Breakthrough legislation in 1968 finally compelled councils to provide permanent sites for Gypsy people. It gave hope to many, but at the cost of losing a freedom closely tied to their identity.
And here is Damian again with a short and poignant message. I recently finished reading Damian’s book ‘The Stopping Places’ – a very personal exploration of the places his family used to stop and pull over whilst travelling. Great book – I learnt a lot.