Gypsy family in a bender tent on Mitcham Common.

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Partial / Incomplete Date c.1881
Area Mitcham
Copyright 1 London Borough of Merton
Picture Reference Mit_​TomFrancis_​B30
Original Format Photo
Photographer / Origin of Photo Tom Francis
Notes / History Preparing the family meal, Mitcham Common, 1881.

In rural areas such as Mitcham, or Wimbledon Common, gypsies could live off the land. Rabbits, hedgehogs, or "cleverly acquired" game found their way into the cooking pot, together with the occasional chicken. Herbs, roots and vegetables could be gleaned from local hedgerows and the edge of fields.

The group picture here, appear dark skinned, probably due to their outdoor lifestyle and exposure to the elements. They camped in areas such as Epsom Downs and Wandsworth Common but were regularly moved on by the police and local landowners.

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