Apologies for the errors and mistakes, and the confusion with the footnotes, which don't seem to have survived the cut and paste. This is not from the final version, but the fourth draft or so, and it is not that well proofed. Once I get hold of the Master disk from the person I borrowed it from, I will replace this, perhaps. In the meantime, readers must endure the flaws.
Introduction to "Kinship and Social Care Amongst a Scottish Traveller Community", by Mitchell Miller, Msc Masters Dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 2000 (Edinburgh)
The relationship between a minority group and an institution or a collection of institutions such as the social and health services is constantly in a state of flux demanding both proactive and reactive responses to situations as they occur. In a report published in 1999, it was found, that Show Travellers had enjoyed some success in accomodating with institutions such as Education Authorities, whilst still retaining their sense of identity, and their own, distinctive approach to their childrens upbringing and needs. It was made clear throughout, that Show their methods of social organisation had their own value, perhaps, in some aspects, a greater value than those percieved as belonging or being supported by the mainstream . It is accepted that cultural boundaries shift, are malleable and are far from absolute. As Cohen and Barth illustrate, the criteria upon which a percieved group judges its values, beliefs and composition usually reflects the priorities and realities facing it at a particular time. As a result, it can change significantly, even if it seems to endure as a tradition, or a social more.
Travellers are regarded in most forms of literature upon the subject as a marginalised group, on the fringes of society. As a result, it can be cut-off from the resources made much more readily available to those regarded as inside the margins ; those who do not have to negotiate significant barriers to their accessing social resources either ethnic, cultural, racial and as can often be the case with Travellers practical. Frequent mobility poses a number of difficulties when accessing health and social services; doctors appointments can be hard to keep, health visitors must track nomadic clients down, even Travellers with winter quarters can change these from year to year with regularity. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that Show Travellers, far from being merely a gathering of persons on the social fringes, form a bounded and relatively well developed subgroup of society that in many aspects has proved remarkably self reliant in the past. As with many such small ethnic and minority groups, they tend towards insularity, and this in itself can dissuade or prohibit members of these groups from fully utilising health and social services either because they don not feel the need, or because the social cocoon that has formed around them clouds their awareness of such resources. Studies amongst Afro Caribbean groups have indicated this, as well as ongoing research concerning Pakistani's and mental illness. A working premise of this research, is that the strength of family influences are of such magnitude that care needs are neglected, or even mishandled, because the family unit attempts to cope with problems it is not equipped or designed to deal with. Furthermore, the need to uphold a family's reputation, coupled with distrust of outside institutions, fosters an atmosphere of denial, albeir wrapped in good intentions.
Previous to this dissertation, cursory analysis of the Show Traveller community indicated that similar process were certainly at work within an education/schools context, and bound within the actual process of conceding to the demands of institutions and formal society. Nevertheless, an accomodating process leaves the group in question open to acculturation -losing their valued distinctiveness with each concession made. Acculturation is the process of becoming assimilated; a process which suggests a continual disempowerment and ebbing away of cultural identity with eventual emergence into something else (usually this is interpeted as the host or majority group)). However, this is a difficult position to sustain as it assumes there is some single definable entity which constitutes the other group, and some magical line that, can be crossed, which signifies belonging . Nevertheless, research does suggest that Traveller groups rare able to recognise when their social boundaries are being compromised, and will attempt to close this up. This is often because they regard the influence of the host society to be harmful, even corrosive.
An example, in a care setting, would be the prospect of residential homes for the elderly. In many instances where Show Travellers have been consulted or interviewed, often in a much more general context , they themselves have mitigated against the idea of placing elderly relatives into care, away from their family group (Amber's programme -quote?) . This has been a common attitude, and has surfaced in many STEP researches and interviews. From my own point of view, this particular taboo was known to me long before the research began ; however, it has never been properly studied or discussed. Residential care provision for the elderly is just one example of a formal approach to social welfare which could be at odds or issue with the senisibilities of the Traveller community. Accommodation therefore is important here -is acceding to the institution of the residential home for the elderly and infirm an example of accommodation, or acculturation?
Accommodation embraces the idea of empowerment and choice in the changes that are made (for both the minority and majority group) and suggests that such changes are consciously made with specific benefits in mind; a giving and taking by all groups concerned. This approach is also problematic as perspectives and understandings of what changes will influence particular outcomes can be difficult to predict or control. In the relationship between school and minority groups, Andereck describes accommodating groups as not willing to to allow the schools to be more of a socializing agent than the family. An issue pertinent to this study then, is how resistant the accomodation process is to outside agencies seeking to provide social care -surely a case in which social services could prove to be more of a socialising agent than the family/cultural group. In partiicular perhaps, day care centres for the elderly, or the close, intensive therapy and educational interface necessary with children with learning difficulties or mental impairments, would "threaten" the monopoly that extended family at least believe they should enjoy over the development or wellbeing of its members. If it is accepted, at least for the moment, that the extended family group is the prime agent and repository of socialisation amongst Travellers, then how does this group respond to the challenges of advanced age and infirmity, or children with disabilities of their own accord? Do they at all? These were the essential questions prompting this study.
Of course, Travellers do not exist in a total vaccuum, insular as they are. For a researcher to even ask a Traveller parent how care is organised and construed for an autistic requires the previous recognition medically, of the condition of autism, and the correct diagnosis of the child in question, (and therefore, significant interface with formal institutions of the "host" society).Travellers have accessed health care services -doctors, hospitals, maternity care, although some authorities, such as the West Midlands Local Authority, have initiated schemes such as Partnership 2000, a health registration card scheme, which allows highly mobile families to maintain a continuous health record to allow doctors to correctly treat traveller patients
Both acculturation and accommodation suggest that changes can be easily interpreted/recognised as either breaking down or promoting cultural boundaries and identities. Both Andereck and the STEP survey uncovered confusion, contradiction and ambiguity over changes made, changes wanted, changes needed, and changes occurring that are understood as inevitable.
Although the concepts of acculturation and accommodation can provide a framework for analysis, the perceptions of the American-Irish/Show Travellers and teachers interviewed by both Andereck and the STEP team indicate the complexity of the issues involved and the need for any workable framework to be as malleable as the identities contained within it. By providing examples and understandings of Show Traveller identity, from both Show Travellers themselves and teachers who have experience of Show Traveller pupils, the changing attitudes of both groups will provide the opportunity to explore notions of assimilation and acculturation.
The subject of Travellers; (Gypsies, Irish and Scottish, Show Travellers and Bargees) tends to hover on the fringe of sociological, political, historical, educational and cultural debate. Much of the existing literature predominantly purveys an outsiders view, in many cases involving little initial contact and consultation with the actual travellers involved, and often was undertaken with a view to reforming, or saving the travelling peoples from themselves. This has changed, very gradually to a state where, arguably, Travellers are beginning to paly a larger role in the debates over their case, reclaiming the right to speak for themselves. In a modest fashion, this dissertation hopes to conrtibute to this ongoing process. The following section provides a short documentation of the evolution of literature treating specifically with Travellers, itinerancy and related issues.
Itinerancy and Migration.
Rather than represent itinerancy and habitual migration as being totally at odds with industrial/capitalist civilisation, Kenneth Allsop, in his mixture of Sociology and Travelogue Hard Travellin: The Story of the Migrant Worker has some success in demonstrating the integral role played by hoboes and migrant workers in the development of the US economy, and the manner in which itinerancy was both reviled and required in the socio-economic infrastructure of the American Dream, in particular, the symbiotic relationship with the railway system.Allsop travelled the established hobo routes in the mid and southwest, and conducted both participant observation and face to face interviews on the way. Strongly American in context as it is, Allsops commentary explores the relationship between itinernancy and sedentarism, in particular their interdependence. His critique of hobo mythology and the romanticism of life on the road is as equally pertinent to the euologising of European authors as it is to that of the American myth of the transient. Nevertheless, Allsopp succeeds in paying both the myth and the hoboes themselves some respect in hid gradual dissection of legend.
Migration is a significant factor in the development of Economic-Industrial complexes, as cited in many historical accounts of industrialisation and Cipolla's The Economic History of World Population., There is, perhaps no more blatant an example of this to be found than in the Stalinist regime, when entire populations, even nationalities, were uprooted and transplanted to wherever the development planning demanded. Industrial Britain benefitted from the significant population movements , caused variously, by war, agricultural enclosure, Clearance and Famine. The economies of Scotland and Ireland were for centuries,almost one, due to the perpetual ebb and flow of labour across the Irish sea.
Thus, migration can be seen as an important factor in human development. However, migration is often understood to be a temporary measure -a developmental phase, perhaps something seasonal. The hobo, the commercial traveller, the itinerant agricultural worker are in most cases, individuals -often working temporarily away from their home base. Travellers migrate in family groups, usually, but not always, taking their homes with them. For them, nomadism is permanent, a "natural" state of affairs. With most "Old Age Travellers" (see appendix 1 ) nomadism is something they have been raised with, a matter of habit and origin. As a result, specialist literatures are necessary to fully understand their nature. A small , but expanding corpus of literature does exist upon the subject of Travellers , with even more specific specialisms within that.
A Short Overview of Literature Dealing With Travellers
This survey will discuss Traveller literature as a general sociological/political/cultural subject , traveller literature that treats directly with the particular group in question, and existing traveller literatures that have engaged with the issue of health care and services in some manner. Reading these texts was largely an excercise in re-familiarisation with previous reading, for the purpose of contextualisation. Furthermore, previous works that deal with social issues and travellers, and a small corpus dealing in particular with Travellers and healthcare, were reconsulted.
Travellers, Gypsies and European itinerant cultures as a subject have tended to hover on the fringes ofr sociological, political, historical, educational and cultural debate . Certainly, much of the literature that
existed was predominantly an outsiders view, often involved little initial contact and consultation with the actual travellers involved, and usually undertaken with a view to reforming, or saving the travellingpeoples from themselves. This has changed, very gradually to a statewhere, arguably, Travellers are beginning to play a larger role in the debates over their case, reclaiming the right of self representation.
Possibly the first attempt to study itinerant populations in Europe was undertaken by H.M.G Grellman, in his Dissertation on the Gipsies . Grellmann was influenced by A 16th Century German work, allegedly edited by Martin Luther, The Book of Vagabonds and Beggars, a sort of guide for the respectable to distinguish between vagrant scoundrels and be aware of the dangers they caused to morals and to property . Possibly as a result, Grellmanns own work is openly prejudiced against Gypsies, regarding them as a degraded people in need of help and assistance. It is in fact, an amalgam of early sociology and evangelical moralising, the aim and intent to save the travelling gypsies from themselves and bring them into the fold of normality and respectability. This approach is very similar to
those taken to native populations in imperial colonies and Americas, the call being for the Savage to be emancipated through their subjugation to the values and principles of imperialist masters . Grellmanns trend was one which would be set for a considerably long time, and would last into the twentieth century, up to and including the Criminal Justice Act of 1991. Brockie , nearly a century after Grellmann and his similarly motivated contemporary Hoyland, was to report on instances of schools set up for Gypsy children Rescued from their parents. While Grellmann blamed the failure of Christian values to be observed by society for the state of Gypsies, even, their actual existence, he, and others who shared his views, nevertheless believed that Gypsy society itself was corrosive and bad for the character, and thus it was justified to sever impressionable children from its influence as quickly as possible.
Grellmann and Hoyland are vital reading because they set down two important precepts which would colour the attitudes of scholars and social reformers to Travelling peoples for a considerable length of time. Firstly, Travellers are a problem; their existence is an abberation which ideally would not exist, and must, by its nature, be apposite and antagonistic to the rest of society. Secondly travellers are the victims of their own backwardness, as a result lead a miserable existence and perpetuate their own misery by persisting with their alternative lifestyle. Only outside intercession can assist them.
However, as society changed, and intellectual trends shifted, different ways of looking at Traveller culture emerged. In the late nineteenth century the discipline of Gypsiology developed, involving a loosely knit collection of scholars and folklorists, heavily influenced by Romantic Aesthetic, and Diffusionist theories and also by the new ideas developing in the sciences; such as early Eugenics, Darwinism, and the claims of phrenology. An eclectic range of approaches was brought to bear upon the wandering peoples of the UK especially, as serious scholars attempted to define and understand them. The first comprehensive collation of Romany and Cant words was attempted, and if this movement under the unofficial leadership of Andrew Scott MacFie, who was to found the Edinburgh based Gipsy Lore Society, publishing, for a number of years, the Journal of the Gipsy Lore Society, which ran until the 1970s. This journal sought to draw together Gipsyologists from different parts of the United Kingdom and Europe to exchange theories, histories and research into Rom, Romany,
Gyspsy, Celtic Travellers and also some Show and Circus Travellers across the world.
This loose movement, in itself added to the preconceptions which colour discourse on traveller peoples, whilst at times, retaining hints of those of Grellmann and Hoyland. The first legacy of the Gypsiologist phase was the exoticisation and romanticisation of nomadism and nomadic peoples. So
vivid and exciting a picture could be painted of Travellers, that actual truth could be lost in a haze of idealism and orientalism. Assessing Travellers and their behaviour as straightforward human beings, with the same basic psychology as anyone else is stifled in the work of the Gypsiologists. Just as Grellman, Hoyland and others, could not appreciate the Gypsies for what they were and accept their choice to be different, neither could the Gypsiologists accept that Travellers might have shared many points in common with gorgios. In fact, in Gypsiologist literature, almost everything in their analysis of the people they studied was down to Gypsy culture, magic, superstition or taboo. Simpler, perhaps more mundane reasons tended to be eschewed. Individual Travellers had almost no individuality from the supposed Romany cultural ferment. Thomas Acton, has often been accused of taking a similar attitude. Hawes, a commentator on the interface between Gypsies, New Travellers and state institutions, accuses him of excessive political correctness in his defence of Gypsy
lifestyles against all criticisms .
Another precept generally identifiable in the work of the Gypsiologists and continued by the Scottish ethnologists, many of the European advocates for Gypsy rights and the Centre for Gypsy Research, is that Travellers are always passive victims of marginalisation and social prejudice. This is related to the second of Grellmanns preconceptions, and observers such as Elizabeth Jordan would argue, just as damaging. As with Grellmann, this assumes form the onset that Travellers, through their lifestyle choice, are in dire straits, and that this is not their fault, rather, they are the hapless victims of forces beyond their control. This of course ignores the considerable survival capacity that all types of Traveller have shown over the course of time, and indeed, the stubborn insistence of preserving their right to a nomadic, kinship based, communal society in the face of agricultural, socio-economic and industrial reform. Nor does it take into account that some of the suffering s of travellers may be directly related to wider trends and similar predicaments amongst settled populations .
For all their alleged passivity, Travellers have, gradually mobilised themselves into formulating organised responses to outside threats or serious internal issues. The majority of Show Travellers across the United Kingdom have for over a century been represented by the Showmans Guild of Great Britain and Ireland. The task of the Guild has been to mediate internal community disputes over fairground pitches and tenancy rights, and to fight what Thomas Murphy, its most noteable eulogist described as a Defensive War against external threat. By adopting a template from the outisde world -namely a trade union, and moulding and conceiving it to their own tastes, the Show Travellers have arguably benefitted from having an established, legally recognised institution as a rallying point
for mediation, representation and communication .
Romanies and Gypsies have taken longer to create formal institutions . ACERT (Advisory Council for Education for Romany Travellers) formed in the early 1980s, producing its first conference report in 1983 (ACERT conference report, 1982-83). This was very much issue based, and its remit did not extend beyond education. Furthermore, it had no active power within the Romany Community. The National Gypsy Council gradually formed from a caucus of Gypsy Activists and sympathetic gorgios, Thomas Acton being one. It also published occasional reports, but as with ACERT, it has no real power over its supposed client group; Romanies/Gypsies, does not extend its work beyond England and Wales, and can seem to be out of touch with the vast majority of Travellers. More successful have been the various small scale womens group and educational projects, often initiated in partnership with local authorities . In Scotland, the SGTA (Scottish Gypsy traveller Association) was formed as part of Edinburgh University Settlement. With strong input from the School of Scottish Studies, the focus of SGTA was mainly cultural, and its literature mainly deals with cultural outreach and community projects. It is over a year since its newsletter, Nachin, has been published .
Traveller research had important implications for the revival of Scottish traditional and folk culture in the twentieth century. The work of Hamish Henderson and Timothy Neat amongst the Travellers and Pearl Fishers of Northern Scotland heavily influenced the cultural flowering of indigenous Scottish culture as championed by Hamish Henderson, Hugh MacDiarmaid and Lewis Grassic Gibbon . . A tentative parallel can be drawn between the role of Travellers, and the role of African Americans in influencing a vanguard of popular counter culture, the prop being a vibrant musical tradition which was able to overcome barriers of ethnicity and culture. The interests of scholars focused primarily upon the collection off folk song and folk tales, with some contextual attention too the situation of the Travellers who were one of the last remaining depositories of traditional orature in Scotland. It was, primarily, a literary and cultural excercise, and the onus was on preserving the remnants of Scottish oral heritage for the benefit of mainstream, settled society, and revitalising its Celtic and spiritual roots. As a result, there seems to be a tendency to consign the travellers to the past, to justify the collection process with the implication that they are salvaging a dying culture. Nevertheless, this revival of interest in folk music and traditonal song did elevate some Travellers, notably Belle Stewart and Jeannie Redpath, to some considerable celebrity status,; their interpretations of songs in Scots have proved influential on numerous gadge artists who would come in their wake, such as Ewan MacColl, Sheila Douglas. Duncan Williamson, a gifted storyteller in the Traveller idiom, whose books have been regularly in print over the last few decades, has fashioned a career out of reworking traditional travellers tales for the digestion of a mainstream audience.
Nevertheless, the actual documented evidence gathered by the movement was limited; there exists a great deal of knowledge in the records of the School Of Scottish Studies (Henderson was crucial to the inception of this institution at the University of Edinburgh) on folk songs remembered by Travellers, but little sociological evidence or analysis, nor much in the way of verifiable historical material. At best, their work approached the vaguely anthropological, but was centred mainly on nationalist and literary aims. Nevertheless, Henderson and others such as MacColl have proved invaluable in collection artefacts from the oral tradtion of traditional Travellers, such as by-names, which give an insight into the social structure of Tinkers, in their volume Doomsday in the afternoon, mainly deal with folk song, but also, by studying a single Traveller family in detail, succeed in giving a sympathetic view of the North of Scotland Travellers ..
But what was lacking in all of this activity was a wider social dividend. Individuals were able to stand out and benefit from the interest of these artists, academic and scholars. But, as with the Irish Gaelic Revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the idealisation of the Traveller figure was not matched with any social or economic development or even any substantial planning in that direction. Nevertheless, a corpus of literature had been set down, a testimony recorded; which would prove invaluable for those who would, in the latter decades of the twentieth century, direct their attention to the traveller issue.
The collecting work of the School of Scottish Studies on Travellers ground to a virtual halt in the late 1950s; there is very little Traveller material in the archives of the school of Scottish Studies beyond 1964. As the Journal of the Gypsy Lore society itself declined, work on Travellers would not be significantly renewed until the 1970s and 80s, when the issues of education, multiculturalism, criminal justice and society seem to collude in creating a Traveller agenda. Thomas Acton, an English
educationalist, produced some of the first serious attempts to assess the social and political condition of English Gypsies, including considerable attention to Traveller Education. Judith Okely published, in 1983, one of the most influential works on Travellers, the seminal The Traveller -Gypsies, a serious attempt to study Gypsy society in its own setting and on its own terms over a prolonged period. Donald Kenrick, who would in time come to work closely with Acton, produced On the Verge: The Gypsies
of England , a study of the marginalisation of the Gypsies in England. Much of this sudden activity followed on from initiatives in other European countries. The Republic of Ireland, a country which suffered an appalling track record against its indigenous Travelling People, went out of its way after the constitutional settlement of the Republic to improve the conditions facing itinerant populations there, arguably as a means of atoning for past cruelties. Mairead Kenny, Sharon Gmelch and others did much to raise awareness of injustices and problems, past and present. Ireland also took a firm line in encouraging Travellers themselves to get involved in initiatives and have a meaningful input . The D.T.E.D.G, Pavee point, and some cross border activity between North and South were crucial instances of Travellers being included in processes aimed at improving their condition. Continental scholars and activists however, with support from European Union institutions have arguably worked the hardest to open up Traveller issues as a subject for research and a challenge to be faced. The Gypsy Research Centre under Jean-Pierre Lliegois was one off the earliest institutes to be formed to draw together disparate research and disciplinary approaches and bring them to a wider audience. Other Traveller groups, such as European show Travellers, Circus, and Rhineland Bargees were served, often through partnership programmes and EC sponsored centres, such as EFECOT (European Federation
for the Education of the Children of Occupational Travellers). Wider European educational and social inclusion schemes have also played their part in dealing with the Traveller case, such as SOCRATES and COMENIUS.
What has been noticeable about this activity was its focus on linking scholastic and practical aims. Activity tended to centre around and feed off of certain issues. Possibly the most prominent of issues was education, which attracted considerable attention around Europe and the British Isles. Education in fact, could have been considered a driving force of much work among travellers, encouraging, as was only natural with a subject which has to take on board so many variables in its discourse, work in other areas of sociology, social work and political science. Another feature was the importance of partnership and co-operation between different centres and schemes to achieve common goals; a gradual process
and not always smooth. Europe has a longer history of such co-operation, and there has often been considerably greater activity between Europe and schemes in the British Isles than those it. Approaches to Traveller education have, due to differing socio-economic conditions and educational systems, varied quite widely, but where good practice has been identified, the sharing of it has at least been a principle upheld throughout western, and even central and eastern Europe. In England, the approach to traveller education has been initiated at a highly local level, with counties and local authorities creating their own Traveller Education programmes and consortiums; with certain authorities taking a particular lead , such as the West Midlands and Devonshire.
The Scottish Traveller Education Programme reflected more centralised education administration in Scotland by taking a national approach. Based on work undertaken by Moray House Institute of Education in the late 1980s, STEP was given an official remit in 1991, to promote Traveller
education and the rights and inclusion of Travellers of all types into a pluralist modern society. Much of the STEP literature is of course, based on meeting educational needs and targets and finding pracitcal solutions to problems such as incontinuity in schooling .
Approaches to Travellers in academic and other literatures have often suffered from the influence of two extremes. The firts is to lump all Traveller groups together as one amorphous mass and assume that the characteristics identified in one example will apply to all. The other is to study a particular grouping in near isolation, neglecting to toi cross reference this group with others. Scholarship can often be undertaken in ignorance or seeming disregard for similar work previously conducted.
Good examples of this tend to appear in Newspaper reports and articles, particularly on Scotlands Travellers, where accounts will describe their origins as the Highland Clearances, Neolithic hunting tribes, or Romanies assimilated into Highland culture . Linguists often seem to work in a vaccuum, compiling endless lists of usage of Cant or alleged Romani, attributing words often lacking awareness of alternative derivations or the influences of other Traveller languages such as Shelta or Palryaree.
Whilst it is important to understand the uniqueness of each Traveller group, there is also a definite need for researchers in this field to be more aware of their subject as part of an eclectic modern phenomenon, perhaps even to abandon the search for a hegemony of classification and
theory, in favour of a more self-evident approach.
Show Traveller society could be summed up as a closely knit community of ardent individualists. It is an amalgam of independent extended family groups who all share a nomadic existence based upon entertaining at fairgrounds, their belonging determined by lineage and blood ties. Interdependence between family groups is recognised as a neccessity and is enforced by social mores and protocols. In theory, all Show Travellers are equal, each individual family head is a free agent, who negotiates their participation at fairs, or, has, by way of inheritance, the right to attend long standing Charter events. However, most families have followed the lifestyle for two centuries, sometimes many more. As a result, Show Society has developed its own hierarchies.
Two works stand out as the most influential treatises on Show Travellers; and, until the 1990s, constituted the only substantial works on this group in Britain. Thomas Murphys History of the Showmans Guild was published in 1939, the opus of an author who had had very little formal
education . Murphy was one of the caucus of powerful and influential Show Travellers who founded the Van Dwellers Association in 1881 (eventually to become the Showmens Guild of Great Britain and Ireland). This was a response to the Moveable Dwellings Bill of the same year, led by moralist MPs, which effectively sought to decommission and criminalise the nomadic way of life, which was seen as a threat to the morals of civilisation. Murphy was the head of a prominent North of England Traveller family, of the Riding Master caste. The Van Dwellers Association was a means of protecting the rights of this, the upper layer of showground society, from the bill, mainly by disassociation from other travellers and presentation of themselves as entrepeneurs and a part of the capitalist process. The Association therefore, tended to act in the interests of those magnates, alienating the lower tiers of Show society, by excluding their membership and input. A further problem was the national rift, between English and Scottish/Cumbrian Show Travellers, who were largely excluded from the decison making process. The Scottish and Cumbrian families who were powerful enough to be included, nevertheless felt disenfranchised and ignored by their southern counterparts, and this would lead to a lingering resentment that threatened to split what would by then be known
as the Showmens Guild in the 1920s. Most significantly for the development of the Guild, however, was the subsequent formation of the Stallholders Association. Following the lead of the Riding Masters, The Stallholder Association was an immediate success, attracting a substantial membership. British Fairgrounds rely upon the coming together and co-operation of individual families to make up a attraction. There was no single Carnival owner as in the USA. Thus, the formation of the Stallholders Association threatened to cut the Riding Masters off from the smaller booths, stalls and shows which made a fair in its entirety. Thus, a hard lesson was learnt in interdependence. The Van Dwellers Assocaition was forced to admit the smaller families into its fold, and to revise many of its discriminatory clauses -and thus little of this is mentioned in Murphys official history In fact, most evidence for these conflicts remains strictly anecdotal, collected on audio tapes through interviews with Travellers from those times. Subsequent histories of the Guild, including those of new researchers such as Toulmin, seem to gloss over this early, fractious period . Nevertheless, Murphy is invaluable on the workings and details of this early example of traveller self organisation (at least, in terms in which formal society finds valid), and his not entirely scholarly memoir acts as an interesting footnote in the social history of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
But his approach centres primarily upon the Guild itself, and its workings as a body. This is pertinent in itself as a record of self advocacy by a Traveller group, but insights on Show Traveller society are fleeting or only briefly glimpsed. Nevertheless, Murphys is one of the most important books on Show Travellers to be found, primarily as it is a primary source; the testimony of a major influence on the Show Traveller community at the turn of the century, and, significantly, a book composed
by an actual Traveller , rather than a scholar or other outside commentator. Duncan Dallas The Travelling People, is the seminal general work on Travellers almost by default, as it was. for a long time, the only serious attempt to describe the actual people of the fairgrounds in detail. There have been plenty of publications on Fairground ephemera and paraphenalia -rides, artwork, music and vehicles, but generally, these have not focused much, if any attention on the society which produced
these. . Most of these are written for non Traveller fairground enthusiasts, who are similar to classic car enthusiasts in their scope of interest . Dallas book is a mixture of history, sociology and expose, journalistic in style. The book is aimed at the educated reader, but it focuses upon many of the stock images of the Showgrounds -the glamour, the strangeness of the nomadic lifestyle, the fairground equipment itself. A chapter is also devoted to the Guild, which draws heavily upon Murphy and
gives much the same point of view. Dallas, as with Murphy, mostly engages with the top tier of Show society , and his analysis can often lack critical insight. Dallas book is to be understood as a survey of the facts that he had available to him, but the feeling is that the surface of the topic has been skimmed and that there is much left uninvestigated. The importance of kinship is treated with satisfactorily, but one feels that another chapter or two could have been written on the subject. Dallas greater interest is in the economics of the fairground trade, and how this relates to the wider economy. This is an important subject which he handles well. But overall, Dallas is also writing for
the readership of the fairground enthusiast, and so he devotes much space, once again, to the thrill rides, lorries, living wagons and carousels. Another criticism to be levelled at both Dallas and Murphy is that their accounts are male centred, and do not adequately take into account the strong matriarchial trends in Show Traveller society and the vital role played by Showwomen.
It was not until the 1980s that writers would publish once again, on the Show Traveller community. Interestingly, the impulse came from two women, who were both from the Show Community. Frances Browns Fairfield Folk is a well written family history, for the general reader. It is
valuable because it largely tells its story through the oral testimony of Show Travellers themselves. As with MacColl and Seggers book on the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, the focus on the Mathews family of Suffolk takes the narrative through the evolution of the Fairground community from the early nineteenth into the early twentieth century, with a distinct interest in the role of women and the workings of Show Society-particularly, women as facilitators and nuclei of extended family networks. Multi generational relations within families is also given a great deal of attention.
A more scholarly approach was adopted by Vanessa Toulmin, a fifth generation show traveller. Her postrgraduate thesis on the history of Show Women from 1870 to the present day, has yet to be made widely available, or published. However, Toulmin has been the driving force behind the University of Sheffields National Fairground Archive, which started its website in 1994. Toulmin regularly publishes concise social histories on Show people on the web and in the Worlds Fair. Again, these are aimed at the general reader, but provide a commentary on a continuing process of historical research and archiving.
There are almost no extensive published works dealing with Scottish Show Travellers, who maintain some cultural and organisational difference from their English counterparts, and almost all of the available literature is markedly anglocentric. Only one book has been published about Scottish Showpeople, a short collection of anecdotes and photographs by Johnny Swallow, a Traveller himself. This is mainly a series of contributions of stories, anecdotes and poems from families he was friendly with, but a concise history detailing the Scottish Section of the Showmens Guild and its problems with the English body is included, and is the only written account of the events available to date.
Essentially, it is important to recognise that the study of Travellers is a study of the influence of the extended family and further, of kinship ties and networks. Consanguinity (according to apocryphal sources) has been so high amongst the community that it is theoretically possible to establish relationship links between almost all Travellers. Their society can be likened to one large thread of kinship -occasionally strong, at some points gossamer thin. But is on the basis of this shared sense of being akin -and this often being backed up through blood ties, that Traveller society, arguably, holds together and interacts. Nevertheless, it is important also to recognise that Traveller Societies have histories of their own, their own small revolutions and political/social earthquakes. These societies do change, do develop. This process naturally, has significant social effect upon the members, as occurs in any sector of society. It is very much the stuff of social scientific discourse. Much Show Traveller literature appears to treat the community as an article of living heritage. This research process has uncovered tantalising leads, uncovering social shifts and corresponding sociological shockwaves. These need to be assessed and understood, if the peculiar society that has developed around the popular cultural phenomenon of th fairground is to be understood as more than just a quaint peculiarity.
1.Jordan, Elizabeth S; Travellers and Scottish Schools. Phd Thesis, Heriot
Watt University (Edinburgh), 1998
2.Grellmann, H.M.G, Dissertation on the Gipseys, William Ballantine, (London) 1807,.
3.Republished and edited by Thomas, D. B, Book of vagabonds and Beggars,
The Penguin Press (Reprint), 1932
4.As recounted by authors such as Mooney, C; The Ghost Dance, HTM Publishing, 1997 and Esherick, Joseph, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising, 1997
5.Hawes, Derek, Gypsies Travellers and the Health Service, Policy Press
6.ibid Jordan, also E.Jordan, G.Lloyd, J.Stead, C.Norris and M.Miller; Travellers at School: The Experience of Parents, Pupils and Teachers, STEP, (Edinburgh) 1999
7.Unlike other Trade Unions, membership of the Guild is only open to the sons and daughters of Show Travellers -or at least one parent being of Show Traveller stock. This expresses, in statute, the belief in heredity and family apparently held so dear in Show Society. In this sense, the Showmans Guild seems to act as a cultural , even ethnic insititution, safeguarding the Brehon laws of the community regarding social mores.
8.Toulmin, Vanessa; From Van Dwellers Association to Showmens Guild, National Fairground Archive, 1998, Dallas, Duncan, The Travelling People, Macmillan, 1971
9.Such as the Westmidlands Partnership 2000, a scheme to ensure Travellers were registered with local services, including Health.
10.The last known issue, number 4, was published in Autumn 1998.
11.Henderson, Hamish, Alias MacAlias: Collected writings, Polygon Books, (Edinburgh) 1998. Also Neat, Timothy, The Summer Walkers, Canongate, (Edinburgh) 1996
15.MacColl, Ewan, and Seeger, Peggy, Travellers' songs from England and Scotland / .Routledge and Kegan Paul, (London) 1977, MacColl , Ewan and Seeger, Peggy, Till doomsday in the afternoon : the folklore of a family of Scots travellers, the Stewarts of Blairgowrie Manchester University Press, (Manchester) 1986.
16.These have included schemes such as ToPilot for Show children, a partnership scheme set up with EFECOT, which used laptop computers and satellite technology to allow Traveller children to keep in contact with a base school and access educational resources throughout the summer, as well as articles and reports on tailoring inclusive education and distance learning pedagogy to the needs of the Traveller.
18.Murphy, Thomas; History of the Showmans Guild, The Showmans Guild ofGreat Britain and Ireland, Showmans Guild of Great Britain, 1939.
19.Danaher, Patrick and Miller, Mitchell; Audio Recordings of a Series of Interviews held with Show Travellers, January to February 1999, STEP Special Collection. Also Swallow, Johnny, Round-A-Bout Scotland,
Showmans Guild Scottish Section, 1988.
20.Some good examples are; Steptoe, Brian; Jump On, Jump On, Navigator, 1994 (Carousels) or Braithwaite, Paul; A Palace on Wheels-A History of Showmens Living Vans, Carters Books 1999.
21.Letter to Worlds Fair, 16th October 1999,
Bibliography and Further Reading (All of these books were either consulted
Acton, Thomas, Gypsy Politics and Social Change, Routledge 1974,
Acton, Thomas Gypsy politics and traveller identity, U.H.P, 1997
Allsopp, Kenneth, Hard Travellin,The Story of the Migrant Worker, Penguin Books, 1968 (London)
Andereck, Mary, Ethnic Awareness and the School, Macmillan 1987
Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, London, 1958.
Borrow, George, The Romany Rye, O.U.P 1906.
Borrow, George, Lavengro, the scholar Gypsy, Foulis, 1914
Braithwaite, Paul; A Palace on Wheels-A History of
Showmens Living Vans,
Carters Books 1999.
Brockie, W, Yetholm Gypsies, J & JH Rutherfurd, 1884, (Kelso),
Brown, Frances, Fairfield Folk, Malvern, (Suffolk) 1998
Michael Burawoy et al, Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis, University of California Press, (Berkeley and Oxford) 1991
BurgessR.G, Field Research, A Sourcebook and Field Manual, Allen &Unwin, (London) 1982.
Danaher, Patrick and Miller, Mitchell; Audio Recordings of a Series of Interviews held with Show Travellers, January to February 1999,STEP Special Collection.
Chambers, William, Exploits and anecdotes of the Scottish gypsies, William Brown, Edinburgh 1886
Dallas, Duncan, The Travelling People, Macmillan, 1971
Denzin, NK, The Research Act in Sociology: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods, Butterworth, (London) 1970
Denzin NK & Lincoln YS, A Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage, 1994.
Disher, M Willson; Fairs, Circuses and Music Halls, Collins, c1945
Goffman, Erving, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, University of Edinburgh, Social Sciences Research Centre, (Edinburgh) 1956.
Grellmann, H.M.G, Dissertation on the Gipseys, William Ballantine, 1807,London.
Hakim, Catherine, Research Design, Allen & Unwin, (London), 1987.
Hawes D, Perez, B, The Gypsy and the State; The Ethnic Cleansing of British Society, Policy Press (London) 1994
Hawes, Derek, Gypsies, Travellers and the Health Service, Policy Press London) 1997
Henderson, Hamish, Alias MacAlias: Collected writings, Polygon Books, (Edinburgh) 1998.
Hoyland, John, A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits and Present State of the Gypsies, Designed to develope The Origin of this Singular People, and to Promote The Amelioration of their Condition, Wm Alexander, (York), 1816.
Jordan, Elizabeth Stewart; Travellers and Scottish Schools, phd Thesis, Heriot Watt University, (Edinburgh) 1998
Jordan, E.S, Lloyd, G, Stead, J, Norris, C, Miller, M; Travellers at School: The Experience of Parents, Pupils and Teachers, STEP, (Edinburgh) 1999
Journal of the Gipsy Lore Society, Gypsy Lore Society, Edinburgh, 1912-1969
Leland, Charles G, The Gypsies, Houghton, Mifflin and Company. (Date
Leland, Charles G.        English Gipsies and their language, 1893.
MacColl, Ewan, and Seeger, Peggy, Travellers' songs from England and
Scotland / .Routledge and Kegan Paul, (London) 1977
MacColl , Ewan and Seeger, Peggy, Till doomsday in the afternoon : the
folklore of a family of Scots travellers, the Stewarts of Blairgowrie
Manchester University Press, (Manchester) 1986.
McCann, Mary (ed); Irish Travellers, Institute of Irish Studies, (Dublin)
Mellors, Michael(ed) The Worlds Fair, Jan 1998-December 1999, Worlds
Fair Publications, Manchester.
Merton , RK, in his article Insiders and Outsiders: A Chapter in the Sociology of Knowledge, (American Journal of Sociology, 78 (1-762, 1972-73, pp 9-44)
Murphy, Thomas, History of the Showmans Guild, The Showmans Guild of
Great Britain and Ireland, (Manchester) 1939.
Neat, Timothy, The Summer Walkers, Canongate, (Edinburgh) 1996
Okely, Judith, The Traveller-Gypsies, C.U.P, 1983
Shellitz D, Johoda M, Deutsch, M and Cook, S,W, Research Methods and Social Relations, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, (New York), 1962
Simson, James, The Social Emancipation of the Gypsies, 1895
Steptoe, Brian; Jump On, Jump On, Navigator, 1994
Swallow, Johnny, Round-A-Bout Scotland, Showmans Guild Scottish
Thomas, D. B, Book of vagabonds and Beggars, The Penguin Press (Reprint),
Toulmin, National Fairground Archive Website: Various Articles., NFA,
University of Liverpool, In Memoriam -Robert Andrew Scott Macfie: A catalogue of Gypsy books collected by the late Robert Andrew Scott Macfie,Sometime Editor and Secretary of the Gypsy Lore Society, 1936
Wheedon, Geoff; Fairground Art, White Mouse Editions, 1981bit
Wright Mills, C, The Sociological Imagination, Oxford University Press, (New York) 1959.