LOCAL place names sit so comfortably in our vocabulary that we often don’t stop to wonder where they come from.
So although many people will know that the name of Gypsies Green on the seafront at Shields originates in it being a popular area for summer visits by – well, gypsies – in past centuries, it’s lovely to actually come across a record of one of these sojourns.
The date was July 1880 and a Shields Gazette man had taken himself off to inspect the gypsy camp, which had been set up on what he described as “a grass-covered plot of ground a quarter-of-an-hour’s walk from the pier,” which would place it nicely where we have Gypsies Green today.
He tries to capture the romance of the scene, as in “....the sun’s rays fell with full force upon the frail habitations, giving the dirty and smoke-begrimed covering a rich brown hue...” and there is much more in the same poetic strain.
Nevertheless, to find what has always been stories rooted in fact, is charming.