louise & family: english travellers | just human | photo series
"I don’t think there should be differences, we’re all the same. But we live different to them; they live different to us. It’s like... but we don’t exactly live different we just... we go to big fairs, we like to dress up nice, we like nice things. And I just, I don’t know. I don’t get what it is, like we should all be classed the same. But we just live in a trailer and most other people live in a house. There isn’t really no differences between us really.
It’s a really, really tight community, the Travelling community. Like where we live, it’s like all family on there - it’s nothing but family, and so like when one of us has got
a problem, they’ve all got problems, sort of thing. So yeah we all stick up for each other. I think you’ve got to.
You have got to."
What does being a Traveller mean to you?
"It’s the culture, it’s the way of life. I mean, it’s just the way they live. They live different. Some Travellers live in houses, some Travellers live in trailers. I think living in a trailer is better than living in a house. The kids have got more freedom, living on a site. Yeah, living in a trailer I think they’ve got more freedom. It’s a completely different life back there than it is in a house."
What does family mean to you?
"Everything. Family is more important than anything. Nothing else matters apart from family."
And what does home mean to you?
"Home, everything as well. I love my home. I don’t like my house at the minute. But when I get my trailer, we’ve got a new trailer coming. So we’ve just ordered a brand new trailer. So that’s being delivered on Friday. So it’s made to how we wanted it. So yeah. It’s took like a year for it to come. So we can’t wait now."
Why do you think Travellers tend to have bigger families?
"I think they just like bigger families. I love big families. When I first got married I didn’t want no children, and now I’ve ended up with eight. Yeah. So I didn’t want any, then I had eight."
Did you grow up with lots of siblings? How was that?
"No, I only had two brothers. I was the only girl.
That’s alright, I didn’t mind that. I was the oldest so that was a good thing. My husband, he’s got six brothers and sisters, so that’s a big family. I think Travellers have got a bad name, but just by some of the things that other people do. So there’s some Travellers doing that. When they pull around - when they move around for work and leave some rubbish - then they class everyone as the same, if you know what I mean? There’s good and bad in everybody. But I think with Travellers they just think, ‘Travellers this and Travellers that’. They just, nobody understands I think really."
Maybe that’s what it is, not understanding the lifestyle?
"Yeah. Like people in the houses they do things wrong as well. They’re not saints too. It’s just, they get a bad name for everything. Everything that goes wrong in this street, these kids are the blame for it everything."
So what’s one thing, or more than one thing if you’ve got them, that you wish settled people understood about Travellers?
"Just that we’re not all bad. We ain’t all bad. There’s good and bad in all cultures. No matter what colour skin we are, what background we come from. So yeah, we’re not all bad. We’re just human. We’re just normal. We just... live different ways. We like different things, we have different beliefs. Demi doesn’t want to get married yet she wants to go and do college and things like that, so that’s her choice. That’s her choice."
How do you feel about that?
"I’m happy for her. Yeah. She doesn’t want to rush down and get married. So that’s her choice, if she wants to go better her career then she can do that."
Why do you think that Travellers get married younger than non-Travellers?
"I think they grow up quicker. Cause she’s at home - they stay at home looking after the younger ones. I think they just... I think it’s that when they get married they could go off more. So that’s just what it is."
'Just Human' started with a focus on Travellers and Traveller culture. However, as the project progressed, I began to meet people who do not call themselves such names but are also, in fact, not ‘house-dwellers’.
Each lived experience is unique. Every opinion, their own. This series showcases the lives of English Travellers, Irish Travellers, and Travelling Showpeople. While modern society doesn’t have space for those in the nomadic community. Travelling culture is changing - not necessarily for the better - and many feel trapped by the societal pressures forcing them to conform to more settled ways of living.