Reinhard Wentz

Reinhard Wentz first visited Speakers’ Corner as a student in 1960. He became a dedicated regular and sometime heckler from the mid 1960s, undaunted by xenophobic put-downs like: “We have Domestos, which kills 95 per cent of all known Germans.”  He says it is hard to make generalisations, because Speakers’ Corner is “not a homogenous institution organised by a committee or by directors.” It works because there are no rules. Reinhard has created an encyclopedia of this unique place, entitled Only in London with entries on enticing subjects like Ras Prince Monolulu and Lady With the Cakes. Hecklers and speakers have a symbiotic relationship, he says. An increase in tourists and decrease in witty topical hecklers means that speakers get away with repeating the same jokes, but debates on the fringes are still going strong.  Reinhard’s law is: the mystique of Speaker’s Corner cannot be understood in one visit. Do not be put off by a dull or rainy day!.

Audio of Reinhard

"Cathartic experience"

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“Don’t generalise”

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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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