Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 429–444 | Cite as

The campaign for a National Strategy for Gypsy site provision and the role of Public Health activism in the 1960–1970s

  • David Smith
  • Thomas Acton
Original Article


We trace the post-war evolution of a national approach to providing caravan sites for Gypsies and Travellers—something essential to protect the health of that population in the United Kingdom (UK). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the late Norman Dodds MP championed in Parliament the plight of the UK’s Gypsies and other nomads. He was instrumental in galvanising support for the 1968 Caravan Sites Act. The vision of influential individuals working in public and environmental health surmounted practical considerations and local opposition to implement the national programme of site provision envisioned by the Act. We detail this hitherto neglected aspect of Gypsy politics and policy development. In doing so, we highlight the transformative potential of public health and argue for a return to the comprehensive vision motivating these pioneers in the 1960s and 1970s.


Gypsies Travellers Norman Dodds MP caravan sites public health 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Social Work and CounsellingUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK
  2. 2.Bucks New UniversityHigh WycombeUK
  3. 3.Corvinus UniversityBudapestHungary

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