Title ID 4308Collection ID280
TitleThe Romany Museum at Selborne
Date[ca. 1990s]
ThemeRural Life
KeywordsCultural Heritage Ethnic Groups Exhibitions Gypsies Handicrafts Oral History Trades Transport
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionAngerton Video Productions
CameraRobin Baumber
DirectorRobin Baumber
ParticipantsPeter Ingram
Other creditsSteve Povey (Interviewer)
FormatColour Sound
Duration45 min. 40 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


The craftsmanship and artistry of the travelling Roma culture is highlighted in this film. The film records The Romany Museum's collection of 19th and 20th century vehicles and ephemera, illustrating dying artforms and way of life.


The film opens with images taken aboard a horse-drawn vehicle as it travels through Selborne. Peter Ingram, gypsy and owner of The Romany Museum, talks about the history and construction of Roma vehicles and about his restoration of the horse-drawn waggons. A variety of waggons (vardoes), including a Brush Van, are explored - the detailed artwork is highlighted. Shots of the items on exhibit at the museum are followed by a demonstration of craftsmanship - Peter Ingram makes a decorative wooden flower and a functional wooden peg using traditional gypsy methods. Further shots of the exhibits bring the film to a close.


A still from 'The Romany Museum at Selborne' (1990s)

Contextual information

The Romany Museum at Selborne houses a large and varied collection of items relating to traditional Roma life. The Romany gypsies have a history rich in tradition, customs, crafts, folklore and language. Their travelling lifestyle is perhaps best exemplified by the painted horse-drawn waggons (vardoes) which were adopted in the England in the mid-19th century, gradually replacing bender tents as primary accommodation. It is a lifestyle which is all but now vanished today - the film is therefore significant because it records the knowledge and skills of a gypsy whose generation was the last to experience life on the road. Screen Archive South East houses an interesting and atmospheric film entitled With the Gypsies in Kent (ca. 1939) which records the life and work of a Roma family travelling on waggons during harvest time in Kent.

Related titles

Related resources


Reeve, Dominic. Smoke in the Lanes. Rev. ed. n.p.: University of Herfordshire Press, 2003

This book details the travels of Roma couple Dominic and Beshlie Reeve through southern England in the 1950s on a horse-drawn waggon. Copies of the book are held at various Kent libraries.


Gypsy Collections

The University of Liverpool Special Collections and Archives houses Gypsy Collections which, "comprise the Gypsy Lore Society Archive and the Scott Macfie Gypsy Collection of books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, sound recordings and press cuttings. The main historical focus of the collections is the period from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century." It's website also provides details of similar collections worldwide.

Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading houses collections which include items relating to the gypsy culture. The Museum’s database is searchable online.

The Romany Folklore Museum

The Romany Folklore Museum at Selborne houses an extensive collection of Romany artifacts including restored waggons.


Various artists. The Voice of the People Volume 11 - My Father's the King of the Gypsies: Music of the English and Welsh Travellers and Gypsies. Topic Records, 1998

This compilation CD features traditional songs sung by gypsies - Peter Ingram performs the songs "Mandi Went to Poove the Gri" and "Can You Rocker Romany?" in Anglo-Romani.


Where I Live - BBC Kent - Romany Roots

This archived BBC Kent microsite looks at the history and heritage of Kent's Romany population - it includes oral histories and website links.