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Book reviews
On the Cobbles by Jimmy Stockin

Jimmy Stockin.
Jimmy Stockin
Jimmy was born into a fighting family. His father and grandfather before him both "trod the cobbles" and young Jimmy was being put up against other boys on Gypsy camps from the age of five.

He took on bare knuckle challenges from wherever they came. Before long Jimmy was widely recognized as the champion of the bare-knuckle fighters.

However the book isn't just about fighting. As an autobiography it is also a story of Gypsy life describing how the world looks from within a community that has been systematically marginalised.

For anyone wanting to get a true idea of what it was like to live the Gypsy life through the turbulent years of the sixties and seventies this book will deliver an honest and unrestrained account.

It was during the Jimmy's childhood and teenage years that the last vestiges of the old travelling ways were fast disappearing with little to be optimistic about for the future.

Boys fighting.
Corkes Meadow St Mary Cray 1950s. Most Gypsy boys were taught 'how to look after themselves' from an early age.

On the Cobbles is a rare insight into a community under threat - a community that treasures tradition - and a man who had little choice in becoming a fighter but was nevertheless determined to be the best.

This is truly a work from inside the culture looking out rather than, as is often the case, outside looking in.

There is no room here for the rosy glow of nostalgia, the book simply tells it as it is with all the hardship and the injustices that the Gypsy faces travelling in a hostile world.

We hear of his fathers death at the hands of a gang who managed to escape justice and of Jimmy's own fighting career around the Gypsy sites of Kent, Essex and South London.

On The Cobbles was transcribed and edited from interviews by Martin Knight and is published by Mainstream Publishing

Have you read the book? What did you think of it? Email
kent@bbc.co.uk

Message board. Your take on this book
On the cobbles was the best book i have ever had the pleasure of reading it took me only two days so that shows you how much i enjoyed reading it .They sounded like they had some great times and will always have great memories that will live on throughout gypsie life if possible can you pass this comment to jimmy stockin i would love him to sign my book.
Philip Higgins

More book reviews»

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