Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

0113 240 2444

Crown Point House,
167-169 Cross Green Lane,
Leeds LS9 0BD

Recording history – Exciting times at GATE

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  January 21, 2016 |

exciting times in the Leeds GATE Archive...

As GATE gets back into full flow in 2016, it is always good to highlight some of the more positive things we have to look forward to. In recent weeks much of the focus, quite rightly, has been on the floods over Christmas and the ongoing challenges faced in the clear-up or preventing repeated disasters. However there is exciting new work going on at GATE; one which I want to mention in particular is our new heritage worker Vanessa Cardui and the heritage project she is leading on.

Vanessa started just last week and has already hit the ground running. A good number of members have already met her and hopefully many more of you will do so in the coming weeks and months. Vanessa’s role as Archivist, as I understand it, is both to go through our current material and, just as importantly, capture new information. Both of these tasks will require the support from members and other groups and individuals who work with the Gypsy and Traveller community. We need help to make sense of what we have,and to  add to it and tell new stories.

As you may have seen at the other end of the GATE office, in the old sandwich shop, there is already a collection of interesting heritage material. Here you will find lots of photos, books, articles, reports and historical items. Vanessa had started working through all this, so that it can be fully enjoyed and recorded. The support we need, and something we are sure many would find interesting, is to look at this stuff and fill in some of the gaps in what we know about it all. Please do come by or give us a call to look through our photos, or bring in some of your own.

We have many great photos, of people, camps and fairs, but sadly with some of these we are not fully sure who or where they are from. If we can put names to these faces, and find out the stories behind these pictures and items, we can ensure that this history is not forgotten and those involved are correctly recorded. It is always great to see how much fun people have poring over the photo albums here at GATE, such as when they spot a distant relative or a camp they once stopped on years ago.

Aside from helping us go through what we already have, we are also interested in recording new material. Whether this is hearing someone tell us about life roadside today, reminiscing about family members, playing music or showing us something of interest, please let us know. Again, we see this as a great opportunity to get voices heard, and crucially, heard in a way that GATE and the community want it to be. Too often Gypsy and Traveller stories, if told at all, are told by other people. What we hope to do with this heritage project is claim this history back; come join!

Ben Chastney

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