RELEASED: 18:37 February 10, 2019 | UPDATED: 18:57 10th February 2019
The legacy of Hatfield and Dame Barbara Cartland is featured in a BBC documentary about Romany Gypsies.
Writer Damian Le Bas examines a crucial decade in Roma life in Rome Romany gypsy on BBC Four.
The one-hour film focuses on the 1960s – an important decade of change for the community.
So far, the history of Roma gypsies has never been told on TV at this time.
Damian records the ups and downs of the Romany Gypsy community and the stories of the people who helped them, such as the romantic writer Dame Barbara Cartland, who has secured a permanent home in Hertfordshire.
Damian's film is the first attempt to explain an important transitional period that most people do not know about.
Traveling was still going on until the 1960s, but in the end more and more Gypsies became "sedentary."
Many people have had to give up their nomadic lifestyle in order to consolidate their existence – a painful transition for many.
Focusing on the home counties, Damian picks up his own family background and rich film archive to show how Roma gypsies became criminals in their own country.
New laws led to tighter planning laws and further erosion of traditional breakpoints, but some councils provided a handful of official caravan sites.
In the program to be shown on Monday evening on BBC Four, Damian talks with Ian McCorquodale, the son of Dame Barbara Cartland.
The colorful writer and former Conservative District Councilman who lived at Camfield Place Manor in Wildhill, near Essendon, took up the battle to find Gypsies in Hertfordshire somewhere to stay there.
Following a public inquiry, Dame Barbara and her allies have secured a piece of ground on the outskirts of Hatfield.
The site on Hertford Road became known as Barbaraville Camp in honor of Lady Barbara.
Mr. McCorquodale discusses his mother's fight.
Damian tells Mr McCorquodale, "People are giving all sorts of reasons why they do not want a Gypsy site in their vicinity.
"You called it old-fashioned racism, and your mother compared it to the situation in the south of the United States of America."
Mr. McCorquodale replies, "It was definitely a prejudice. It was really very uncomfortable. "
He adds, "My mother had a lot of hate mail and the people were rude to her, but she persisted.
"She was in no way dissuasive of my mother. She held on to her weapons. "
The breakthrough legislation of 1968 eventually forced the councils to create permanent locations that gave hope to many – but at the expense of a freedom that was closely tied to their identity.
Damian says that after fifty years, the Roma still have a sense of ethnicity that can be seen at the Horse Fair in Appleby, Cumbria.
Romany gypsy is the first in a four-part BBC Four series, A very British story, explored the key moments of the 20th century for minorities across the UK.
The series also includes episodes about the Jewish community in Leeds, the Afro Caribbeans in Birmingham, and the Ugandan Asians in Leicester and beyond. In front of the moderators of these communities, the series presents the ups and downs that many faced when living in modern Britain.
The audience hear their countless stories and follow emotional time travel.
Each film is about learning more about the history of multicultural communities in the UK.
• A very British story: Roma gypsies will be broadcast on BBC Four at 21:00 on Monday, February 11th.