This film is part of Free

Travellers in Sparkbrook

Sparkbrook community cohesion comes unstuck when noisy neighbours start to enjoy themselves.

News 1963 6 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


Tensions are running high at Sparkbrook in Birmingham. A group of young Irish men have moved in - dealing in scrap metal during the day and 'enjoying a bit of fun' at the weekend. With some local residents wanting a quiet life, feelings are running high. It's an age-old story of the economic migrant that reappears across the decades. Cramped, overcrowded and generally run-down Victorian housing certainly made the situation even worse.

The story was first reported in the media on 9 July when Alderman Harry Watton of Birmingham City Council was quoted as saying: "These people are human scrap vultures. We shall do our best to run those of them who will not toe the line out of the city. We are going to take all the action we can - quickly, efficiently and drastically."