The Speakers’ Corner Timeline explores the history of Speakers’ Corner (Hyde Park, London) from 1783 to the present day using the Speakers’ Corner archive. The timeline contains many different kinds of sources: historical documents, images, audio clips (including oral history interviews) and video. The Sounds from the Park resources can be used as part of the KS3 / 4 History or Citizenship curriculum.
Classroom and homework activities accompany the timeline including an introduction to Speakers’ Corner, speaking and heckling activities, oral history exercises and suggestions for visits to Speakers’ Corner. Download them here.
The timeline can be viewed on personal computers or on classroom whiteboards. It contains questions to prompt students to interpret sources and investigate causes and consequences of events. Different interpretations of historical events related to Speakers’ Corner have been included. The question of Speakers’ Corner’s origins, whether in the place of execution at Tyburn or the Reform League’s campaign for male suffrage, is considered.
The many different ideas expressed at Speakers’ Corner and its role as a traditional starting and ending point for demonstrations makes it an ideal place from which to consider social and political changes from a historical or citizenship perspective. Questions prompt students to think about what the limits to freedom of speech might be.
Thanks to Edward Packard, Martin Spafford, Anna Wolmuth and Tom Foreman.