The Ideas

On the one hand, Speakers’ Corner is a microcosm of Britain’s social and political movements: national independence platforms emerged in the 1940s and 1950s as future African leaders Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah graced the crowds; nuclear disarmament was hotly debated from the 1960s until the 1980s; identity politics took centre stage in the 1980s and 1990s. On the other hand, Speakers’ Corner is its own bubble, full of conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and light hearted messages entirely unrelated to the headlines like: “advance to yesterday, look backwards to the future.” Post-war Speakers’ Corner is remembered as “an intensely political forum.” The wrath of God featured then, but it has increased in popularity over the last 20 years. Today, Christian and Muslim preachers preside over at least half of the meetings, often in confrontation with one another. Politics, race and nation are still obsessively discussed but through a religious prism.

Audio clips about ideas

“Political education”

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"Run through the street"

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“I can’t stand injustice”

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“I was a jailbird”

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”Incarnation of the enemy”

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“He was an irate butcher"

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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.

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