'The bulldozers moved out, the Travellers moved in’ – St Ann’s, Nottingham, 1960s ‘slum clearance’
30,000 people lived in St Ann's in Nottingham in the 1960s, in some of the worst housing conditions in Britain for the settled community. The area was self-contained, with factories, churches and pubs. In the late '60s the whole area was torn down in slum clearance, with the best houses also flattened with the worst.
"When the bulldozers moved out the Travellers moved in, taking advantage of the empty land and any scrap they could salvage. Their caravans had wood-burning stoves so they made good use of the plentiful supply of firewood from the demolished buildings. They were constantly moved on by the police, only to settle on other areas of wasteland. The police were frequently called to investigate cases of criminal damage. Travellers were often blamed, rightly or wrongly, and made to move on. There was no shortage of police manpower."
"This family set up on the site of cleared housing adjacent to a large factory which appears to be still in use, judging by the intact windows. Like the local youngsters, the children played amongst the rubble."
The quotes and the photographs are by Peter Richardson, from his new book St Ann's: the final chapter, published by Five Leaves Publications in Nottingham, which includes seventeen pages of photos of Travellers on the site.
If you are a Traveller and were there yourself at the time - or know of any of the Traveller families who were there (the children would be in their sixties now), the publishers of the book would like to hear from you. You can contact the publishers direct, or through the Travellers' Times.
(All images (c) Peter Richardson)
This article was updated on 03/02/2022 at 2pm to add an additional photograph to aid the Notts police history group who are interested in the uniforms the police officers are wearing