George Borrow (1803-1881)
The greatest of English writers about gypsy life.
George Borrow was an eccentric character, renowned for his unconventional writing. He spoke dozens of languages, and even mastered north-east China’s Manchu language in less than a month. He was a great traveller, and wrote about his adventures in Spain, Wales and many other countries.
George also had a lifelong interest in nomadic people, particularly the Romany. He immersed himself in gypsy culture, visiting their camps across Britain, Europe and Russia. He learnt their language and customs, wrote about them in his books and produced an English-Romany dictionary. To recognise George’s contribution, and to mark the anniversary of his death, a gypsy festival was held in Brompton Cemetery every year until 1939.