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Project November 9, 2023

British Traveling Showmen


An image of a caravan belonging to J.Caris, shown here with its protective covers on. From the collection of Arthur J. Fenwick. Image courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / CC BY-ND 2.0. (

This feature tells the story of the Abbotts, a family of British traveling showmen who have worked in the fairground industry for over a century. The Abbotts spend the summer months moving between fairground sites and—until recently—they spent the winter months on a plot of land tucked into Hampstead Heath, perhaps one of the most beautiful and coveted areas of London.

These “winter quarters” had been passed down through generations of the family—but recently, they decided to leave. While exploring the Abbott family history, their life and work, and their decision to leave their home, this project aims to spotlight the traditions and way of life of an often overlooked community who are an integral part of British heritage and culture. It also looks at themes such as place, ownership of land, and the position that itinerant groups hold within modern society.



yellow halftone illustration of two people standing back to back


Land Rights

Land Rights