Clifford Slapper

Clifford Slapper, composer, writer and pianist, joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) in 1981, aged 20, and spoke on their platform regularly through the 1980s and 1990s. He was drawn to the SPGB because of its democratic structure and its rational response to the threat of nuclear war: “War will be there as long as capitalism is there.” Clifford pursued parallel careers as a history teacher and a musician working with global stars. Though he regularly performed in front of large audiences, stepping onto the stand at Hyde Park was “a bit like jumping into the swimming pool for the first time,” because initially nobody was listening. Clifford also recalls a gang of disruptive Tory hecklers intent on wrecking meetings. They “twisted the sacred principle of free speech to their advantage” and generally, he says, the police were not very helpful in defending the speakers’ right to express themselves.

Audio of Clifford

“An absolute cataclysm”

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“A strong competitive element”

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Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, London.

About the project

Sounds from the Park is a unique oral and visual history of Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park: the UK’s last great open air oratory site.

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© Chris Kennett

Exhibition

Our exhibition can be seen online here or read our booklet about Speakers' Corner.

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© Philip Wolmuth

Radio show

Our radio show can be listened to here.

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Young man talking at Speakers' Corner, 2013 © Sophie Polyviou

Education resources

History and Citizenship resources for Key Stage 3 and 4. Complete with a timeline of events at Speakers' Corner and other resources.

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