Ellen Smith
Ellen Smith
Spouse(s) John Smith
Children Flora Smith and 1 boy
First appearance 14th October 1970
Last appearance 26th October 1970
Number of appearances 4
Played by Maggie Steed

Ellen Smith was in a group of travelling gypsies who encamped on slum clearance ground near to Coronation Street for two weeks in October 1970. Sharing her pleasant modern caravan was her husband John, their young daughter Flora and their five-year old son.

Ellen's first encounter with the residents of the street was in the Corner Shop when she bought a box of matches and encountered an insulting Hilda Ogden. Upon leaving, she told Irma Barlow that one day she would be rich and happy but that she should keep her daily in her place! She then went into the Rovers where she tried to flatter Annie Walker to get a jug of water out of her but the imperious landlady gave her a lecture about paying taxes.

Ellen spent her time following the traditional ways of selling home-made wares to make money, in her case, paper flowers. Elsie Tanner was a willing customer but Ellen's best relationship was with Lucille Hewitt who rebelled against Annie's instructions and tried to befriend the travellers. A dubious Ellen allowed Lucille to visit the encampment where she realised that Flora had few children's' books available to her. She took Ellen and Flora to visit Valerie Barlow who donated several of Peter and Susan's old volumes and in return told her a fortune that she would have a happy life of five children and twelve grandchildren, a prediction that came woefully untrue just four months later. She also asked Elsie if she had gypsy blood in her as she reminded her of someone she met in County Galway in Ireland. She also told Elsie that she'd had several husbands and three children. Elsie told her that she wrong - she just had the two kids but had a shock a week later when her previously unheard of stepson Mark Howard arrived on her doorstep!

The gypsies' time in Weatherfield was coming to an end though as Annie had handed in a petition to the police demanding their eviction and, at the same time, violence had broken out between the menfolk when a pile of scrap from the Builder's Yard that fellow-traveller Reuben Ward had been going through went missing. Ray Langton brought in some heavies to get back the property back though he had no proof that it was in the encampment. A full scale fight was in progress which saw Lucille, Ellen and Flora cowering in terror in their caravan as an axe was put through the window. The police interceded and the gypsies were moved on. Lucille, furious at their actions and that of Annie, threw a brick through the windscreen of a police car and was arrested.

Ellen's comment to Elsie that she reminded her of someone from County Galway may have been an in-joke as throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s Patricia Phoenix span reporters the line that she had been born in that part of Ireland. She later admitted that it was a fiction and she had been born in Manchester.

List of appearancesEdit


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