UK. A boy in a pair of makeshuft braces shines an impish grin at the photographer surrounded by his friends. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto/Retronaut

By Alex Jones


POWERFUL images from 1950 show the happy, scruffy children who lived in ramshackle huts.

A series of stunning shots from the mid-twentieth century include children playing Ring a Ring o’ Roses outside, gathering around and stroking a slightly overwhelmed dog, and spiritly chasing each other in a toy car.

UK: Smiling children surround a somewhat perturbed pooch. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto/Retronaut

Other incredible images show cheeky youngsters smiling at the camera or playing in front of their rickety accommodation.

Not much is known about the dishevelled but boisterous children in the vintage snaps but their shamble of caravans and shacks is believed to have been located in Kent.

The inhabitants of the shanty town would work on the local farms collecting fruit and vegetables during the harvest season and hops when it had matured.

UK: The childreen seem happy playing outside in the shadow of their ramshackle homes. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto/Retronaut

The children would go to local schools, although their attendance records often wavered.

Following labour shortages after World War Two. the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) was introduced in 1945, allowing foreign nationals to temporarily reside in the UK in order to harvest fruit and vegetables.

UK: A battered toy car provides hours of entertainment for the youngsters. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto/Retronaut

The bulk of SAWS workers were Eastern European or from the former Soviet Union.

The scheme lasted until 2013 until it was scrapped due to the increasing availability of EU workers.

Today, about 90% of British fruit, vegetables and salads are picked, graded and packed by 60,000 to 70,000 workers from overseas, mostly from eastern Europe.

UK: Mucky but content, this little girl is dleighte to be outside. Mediadrumimages / Topfoto/Retronaut

This has led to question marks over who will harvest UK produce after Brexit is implemented as studies have shown unemployed British people do not see the industry as offering a ‘viable career-path’.

Special permits for migrant farm workers have been mooted by producers as a way of countering the potential labour shortfall.