Jean Saunders

Jean Saunders’ mother Sharley McLean took Jean and her brother to Speakers’ Corner as small children in the 1940s and 1950s, often treating them to rum baba afterwards. Even then, she found some of the speakers charismatic, especially the anarchists. Philip Sansom and Robert Ogilvie were her favourites. As a teenager, Jean got involved in left-wing politics and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). She went on Aldermaston Marches and anti-Vietnam war protests. At fifteen she started visiting Speakers’ Corner independently, bringing her then boyfriend Jim Huggon along who later became a popular anarchist speaker. Jean loved the free and easy interaction: “You could just walk away when you’d had enough, or you could set up your own little crowd of people.” It was a great place to make friends with people who shared her politics. Jean stopped going in 1969 when she left London and got more involved in the environmental movement. She has fond memories of Speakers’ Corner and believes it helped taboo subjects become mainstream.

Audio of Jean

“A little satellite”

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“Anything went”

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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.

Listen to the radio show
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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