Martin Besserman

Martin Besserman has a light-hearted comedy style. He was drawn to Speakers’ Corner as a teenager in the 1980s by the eccentricity of the environment. Martin says he craved attention for his poems after his parents divorced when he was eleven and was made to feel welcome at Speakers’ Corner. It was a place where lonely, vulnerable people and intellectuals alike felt comfortable. As a cash strapped youth he discretely took collections for poetry recitals. He was impressed by “Quiz Queen Betty” who handed out jelly baby sweets as rewards for answering her “Trivial Pursuit” style questions, blackcurrant ones for hard questions; green for easy answers.   Martin still speaks and currently advocates vegetarianism.

Audio of Martin

"Enough attention"

Listen to clip

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.

Read more about the project
© Chris Kennett

Exhibition

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

See the exhibition
© 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.

Download education resources