Matthews, Jodie (2015) Fellow Travellers - Victorian representations of showpeople, canal boat people, hop-pickers and Romani people. [Web page]
Abstract

Throughout the long nineteenth century, identifiable groups such as seasonal crop-pickers, showpeople, canal boat people, and Romani people travelled regularly within Britain for the purposes of work and/or as a cultural practice. Some travelled for months at a time, others made journeys once or twice a year. These forms of travel were ways of life, but they also constituted a radical idea that could be threatening and/or desirable to the majority sedentary population. Travellers were, apparently, different. Their arrival, stay, and departure were recorded in newspapers, fiction, drawings, engravings, paintings, pamphlets, and on the stage and in song. That they had come from elsewhere in Britain, that they brought alternative behaviours with them, and their need or urge to travel at all, made them worthy of comment. They represented, simultaneously, escape and privation, freedom and poverty, timelessness and anachronism, colour and danger, dirt and entertainment.

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