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A Minority and the StateTravellers in Britain in the Twentieth Century$
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Becky Taylor

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719075674

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719075674.001.0001

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The state and its legal responses

The state and its legal responses

(p.53) 2 The state and its legal responses
A Minority and the State

Becky Taylor

Manchester University Press

This chapter addresses the relationship between Travellers and central and local government. It specifically discusses the tension between central government's ideology of impartiality and local authorities' desire to remove Travellers from their areas. The treatment of Travellers by central government tested the extent of and commitment to impartial and even-handed government that had increasingly characterised the civil service. From the 1880s, there had been a series of attempts to pass legislation aimed specifically at those living in ‘moveable dwellings’. The moveable dwelling bills, with their sanitary regulations and registration provisions, would allow the police to remove and prosecute Travellers without landowners having to bear any expense or inconvenience. The Public Health Act served to confirm the invisibility of Travellers in the eyes of policy makers. The level of resistance to the extension of bylaws to Epsom Down in 1937 was exceptional.

Keywords:   Travellers, central government, local government, civil service, moveable dwelling bills, sanitary regulations, registration provisions, Public Health Act, Epsom Down

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