The theatre company Cardboard Citizens which develops creative theatre projects with and for people experiencing homelessness, and Professor Nick Crowson from the University of Birmingham, become "genealogical detectives" in this new BBC Radio 4 play- rooting through newspaper reports and police records to discover the stories of those criminalised for being homeless.
Drawing on historic documents, imagined lives, and personal experience of the struggle for a place to call home, Cardboard Citizens introduce the people wandering through history.
The research from Professor Crowson’s informing this play is part of an ongoing research project exploring the hidden histories of homelessness in modern Britain. Professor Crowson’s work shows how it has now become possible to trace the life stories of individual vagrants, and in doing so casting light upon a forgotten section of society.
His work not only reveals whom these people were, but where they moved about the country, and importantly explaining why they were in this predicament between late Victorian times and the inter-war years. His research has been referenced in the Scrap the Act campaign, calling for the 1824 Vagrancy Act which criminalises homelessness to be scrapped. This was achieved in February 2022.