Unromantic Gypsies: Captivating Black And White Photos Show The Lives Of The Corke’s Meadow Travellers Who Set Up Home In 1950s Kent

Fascinating photos encapsulate what life was like for a traveller community living in Kent in the 1950s. London-born photojournalist Bert Hardy captured the black and white snaps that were published in a collection entitled The Unromantic Gypsies.


Children boxing in a gypsy camp in Kent, England on July 1, 1951. Like all boys these gypsy lads like to try their hand at boxing. Encouraged by their friends they fight it out on Corke’s Meadow.

Few Romanies now live a life of wandering romance. Most are like the three hundred squatters of Corke’s Meadow, Kent, which is part of a “gypsy problem” that involves about 100,000 today. Of those about 25,000 can be rightly called gypsies, the rest are Mumpers and Posh-rats and Hobos. Corke’s Meadow has both kinds. “Picture Post” cameraman Bert Hardy photographs the Corke’s Meadow gypsies in their encampment. (Photo by Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)


A Romany woman and girl in their caravan on an encampment at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


An old Romany turns his hand to the traditional Romany trade of tinkering (scrap metal dealing), at the Corke’s Meadow encampment in Kent, 25th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A mother washes her child at a gypsy camp in Corke’s Meadow, Kent, July 28, 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Getty Images)


A Romany woman and child at an encampment at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


A group of Romany people at an encampment at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


A group of Romany people at an encampment at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


A group of Romany children at an encampment at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Romanies camp beneath the shadow of a gasometer in Corke’s Meadow, Kent on July 28, 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


Gypsy children play in squalid and overcrowded encampment at Corke’s Meadow, Kent, 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A little gypsy girl sits by the wheel of a caravan clutching a doll, 28th July 1951. Her clothes are filthy and her face dirty. She is one of the three hundred squatters at Corke’s Meadow, Kent. The group includes true gypsies, mumpers, posh-rats and hobos. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A Romany woman combing her son’s matted hair outside her tent in an encampment on Corke’s Meadow, Kent on 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


Two Romany women polishing their silverware on the steps of their caravan at the Corke’s Meadow encampment in Kent on July 28, 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Getty Images)


An elderly Romany man camping at Corke’s Meadow in Kent, 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A Romany family on the steps of their caravan at the Corke’s Meadow encampment in Kent, 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A young Romany woman in an encampment on Corke’s Meadow, Kent, 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


A Romany woman cooks dinner in an iron pot hung over an open fire at the Corke’s Meadow encampment in Kent, 28th July 1951. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)


One of the 300 Romanies living on Corke’s Meadow in Kent, 28th July 1951. The true gypsies have two prime horrors, officialdom and living in houses. The first is already an issue and they are threatened by the second. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)

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