Education for All

I believe that education should be accessible to all and that learning should be for life.  So the work of the Scottish Traveller Education Programme (S.T.E.P.) is of great interest to me.  S.T.E.P. have outlined some definitions of various travelling communities in Scotland on their website

LM Wk1a

The following text is copied from the S.T.E.P. website and helped me to better understand the term ‘Showpeople’ from the outset of this project.


Showpeople are officially known as Occupational Travellers (currently this official label used for statistical purpose is being reviewed in Scotland), self-define as business/cultural communities. Scottish Showmen or travelling show and fairground families form the largest of these communities, and are mainly based in Glasgow. Scottish Showpeople are linked to Showmen across the UK, mainly through the Showmen’s Guild. Other communities who travel for work include circus and bargee families (the latter are generally not found in Scotland).

Scotland’s largest community of Occupational Travellers is the Scottish Showmen or travelling show and fairground families. Showpeople are very proud of their distinctive identity. Families self-define as business communities, albeit with a strong and distinctive culture that is well known and enjoyed as the ‘shows’ that regularly travel across Scottish towns and cities. This community is distinct from Gypsies/Travellers, and does not have or want to have recognised ethnic minority status. Showpeople are very proud of their distinctive identity, and wish to have it officially recognised. Other Occupational Travellers include Circus and bargee families and other waterway family businesses (the latter two groups are most unlikely to visit Scotland via the canals as English canals don’t link with the canals in Scotland). The families travel for work across Scotland, the rest of the UK and frequently across Europe. More information about Circus communities is available on their website or from their magazine ‘King Pole’ a quarterly publication: contact or mobile 07812647678. Information about Bargee families is found on their website.

Scottish Showpeople are largely based in a yard, mainly in Glasgow’s East End, to which they return for periods of time to catch up with other families. Scottish Showpeople have a strong cultural identity and long proud histories of living and working in Scotland. A very good idea of their lives can be gained from their newspaper, World’s Fair or their website.

More information is available at the National Fairground Archive website. The Showmen’s Guild website provides information about their organisation and how it has governed the setting up of funfairs for over 100 years. The Scottish Showmen’s Guild also has a website.

For further information about Scottish Showmen and their families, read:

  • Frank Bunce, 2010. Showfolk: an oral history of a fairground dynasty, National Museums of Scotland.
  • Carol McNeill, 2004. Kirkcaldy Links Market. Fife Council – Community Services

3 responses to “Education for All”

  1. Thanks Lyn – Really interesting and helpful 🙂

  2. stillstatic (tsB) Avatar
    stillstatic (tsB)

    Hi Lyn and all–thanks for this. Regarding books and resources–I was actually thinking that we should start sharing books between us–so that our gatherings are also a bit of a library/resource swapping time. I’m bringing some books tomorrow! (anyone else….?)

    I think it’s Frank Bruce (above from 2010). And I’ve asked MM if we can borrow his copy–fingers crossed as it’s hard to find!

  3. We’ve chatted briefly about collecting children and young people’s stories and interpretations. Here’s a good website for highlighting the value of children and young people’s contributions to museums –

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