Observer picture archive: Gypsies in Hampshire, 14 October 1956

Jane Bown photographed migrant workers and their families extensively, throughout her long career.

When Jane Bown was first married she lived in the village of Bentley in Hampshire. “During the hop picking season, the gypsies camped at the back of the house. There was wonderful stuff on my doorstep”

Gypsy woman use a cooking pot at their camp in Bentley, Hampshire in 1956.
Tending the campfire. Photograph: Jane Bown/The Observer

Three of her photographs from this set were used on page 14 with the caption: “From September until early October, some people who usually live in caravans, and spend most of their lives peddling and hawking, camp in a field near Bentley, Hants, where special huts are put up for them by the farmer who owns the hopfields.

Gypsy man enjoying a hearty meal in Bentley, Hampshire in 1956.
A meal fit for a king. Photograph: Jane Bown/The Observer

These families, mainly Romany, are very loyal and like to return to the same fields each year.”

Gypsy woman in Bentley, Hampshire in 1956.
All photographs © Jane Bown for the Observer Photograph: Jane Bown/The Observer

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selected by Greg Whitmore, Observer picture editor

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