Monday, 15 February 2016

The Driven Gipsies

I don't know where the German Gipsies started their journey nor where it finished but in 1906 they weren't given a very friendly welcome by either the Derbyshire or Cheshire police.
One Friday night in October the Sheffield police tried to drive them across the border into Derbyshire; the Derbys police sent them back. Eventually the police tired of this game and the gipsies, 60 of them with horses and caravans were allowed to camp in a field a few miles from Sheffield.

Saturday morning and 20 or so Derbyshire police  were ready to drive them over the moors through Hathersage, Hope, Castleton and Chapel-en-le-Frith.  It was late at night by the time they crossed the river at Whaley Bridge and so into Cheshire.  At that time the Cheshire Police didn't know of their progress so they were able to set up camp at the roadside.  The bridge was guarded on the Derbyshire side to prevent their return and it was reported that the encampment looked like  a fair.  The people of Whaley made them welcome and feeling sorry for their treatment even gave them money.  The gipsies even did some trade in cheap jewellery.  They declared that they liked the country and intended to stay for two years.

The Cheshire police however, got wind of their presence and a contingent from the Macclesfield force, 30 officers strong, led them through Bollington and Adlington and so on to the Stockport Road.  There was some disorder here. One of the gipsies threw his hat into a field and was prevented from going after it. The gipsies then threw sticks at the police to show their resentment but were soon persuaded to continue their journey.  The Stockport police joined the Macclesfield contingent on reaching Hazel Grove and the band was kept on the move along Buxton Road. At the Stockport boundary, 2 inspectors and 25 officers took charge.  They were not allowed to go into shops but occassionally dashed in to beg but were quickly brought out again.

The group were disappointed at not being allowed to stop in Stockport. At Heaton Lane, they were turned off of the main road towards Heaton Mersey where the Lancashire police were telephoned and a force of 20 were sent to meet them .  As darkness fell, the gipsy leader pointed to the children and indicated that they were becoming tired and needed sleep. Inspector Moore of Stockport insisted that they continue.  "You bad inspector" shouted the gipsy leader, "we come back when you gone". The inspector replied "if you come back, we shall lock you up" The Stockport men escorted them along the Didsbury Road until a little way beyond Barnes Homes, the body sent out from Old Trafford took charge. They were allowed to turn into a field for the night, very glad to get some rest.

This is the last we hear of them, presumably they were allowed to settle at some stage or they would be wandering still.

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