1987: Travellers’ Children, London Fields


“I came across the travellers whilst I was photographing a deserted warehouse in the London Fields area in 1987. They had parked their caravans in and around Martello St, near the railway arches by the station. This part of Hackney was very run down in the eighties. The streets were littered with rubbish and many of the decaying Victorian terraces were being demolished. The area was neglected and dangerous, with graffiti everywhere.


“The travellers were Irish, mostly families with three or four children, living in modern caravans which looked extremely cramped but comfortable. On the first week I started to take one or two Polaroid shots of the children which I gave to them to show their parents. Some of the parents then dressed the children up and sent them out for me to take more pictures.”

- Colin O’Brien, Spitalfields Life

About The Author

Avatar of Chris

Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

4 Responses

  1. toria

    A whole world away from the Irish Travellers we have recently seen in C4 programmes. What happened in the meantime?

  2. Tarquin F Smythe QJM

    The above will have seen the inside of a police station a few times since these were taken.

  3. MondoMatty

    As I was scrolling down enjoying these images, I was thinking “I wonder what the comments would be if this was on the Daily Mail”. Thanks to Tarquin I now know.

    Jog on mate.


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