Thursday, 4 November 2010

Travellers


This is Shipley railway station, about half a mile down the line from Saltaire station and famous for being one of only two triangular stations in the UK. (There are railway lines on three sides: Leeds - Skipton, Leeds - Bradford and Bradford - Skipton - with the carpark and buildings in the middle.)  The first station on this site was built in 1846.

At the moment it is more famous for being a squatter camp!  Travellers' caravans moved onto the carpark on October 6th and, despite reportedly being served with an eviction notice, four or five caravans still remain (just visible among the trees).  According to the press, the same group of travellers have been moving around the district much of the summer.  At one time they set up a camp on grassland at the far side of Roberts Park near the Glen Tramway.

Bradford Council provides two permanent sites but they are both apparently full and anyway, many travellers seem to prefer to move around and do not wish to live on a permanent site.  It causes much controversy.  They seem to be their own worst enemies, parking up wherever they want and often leaving a mess behind them when they leave, causing landowners (in this case Northern Rail) to have to spend thousands of pounds in legal fees and clean-up costs to deal with the problem.  Many people deeply resent their refusal to contribute (financially) to society.  Bradford Council have for many years tried to take a constructive approach to support and educate what some see as a persecuted ethnic minority.  But there isn't just one coherent community of travellers - there are true Roma families, Irish tinkers, young itinerants and, increasingly, gypsies fleeing persecution in other countries.  It's an issue that tends to polarise views.  In Shipley right now, many (rail) travellers are resenting the inconvenience this group of travellers is causing!

(I'm still canvassing votes for my photo(s) in the 'Yorkshire Landscapes' Competition.  I've got into the last 100 and need your vote to make the final shortlist.  The competition is stiff - so please vote! For more details, see my post last Saturday or click here to vote.)

12 comments:

  1. i love train stations, ive been to corfe castle train station and that place is just like from different era.

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  2. ps, just voted, good luck.

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  3. That is a sad and difficult problem in many European towns.

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  4. We have 'travellers' from time to time, on a piece of common-land at the end of the lane. They always leave an unsightly mess. Conversely, we had a Romany couple, in a horse drawn caravan, at the same spot last year. They stayed for a month, they were friendly and, when they left, only a circle of ash, the size of a dinner plate, was the only evidence of their stay.

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  5. A difficult problem to deal with! It's too bad they leave such a mess.

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  6. The issues surrounding unrooted people are very sensitive and it always saddens me to see the lack of understanding and compassion given to them. It would be better if communities and officials would focus on solving the travellers' problems than just criticizing their way of living, whether by choice or circumstance.

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  7. It seems to be a problem in different parts of the UK at times. it would seem from what you said that Bradford council are a little more tolerant and the word has got out.
    Back in the day (1990), I remember changing trains and standing on the platform a couple of times coming from Bradford Foster square. I was wondering if any of the stone buildings were left in this unique and what was useful and delightful station.

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  8. As you say, they are their own worst enemies, they leave such a mess and seem to feel no responsibility for it. Because of that, little sympathy.

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  9. The problem exists around here too. In Manchester though, I taught traveller children who were parked up on one of the permanent sites and I was even invited into one of the trailers to meet the family. It was beautiful. As you say, there are many kinds of traveller!

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  10. No better place for travellers to park than a train station ;-)

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  11. Interesting, the different types of travellers.

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  12. This reminds me of our local Walmart over here, they reserve part of the parking lot for visiting RVs. Except they never leave a mess! ~Lili

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