Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London – History

Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London – History

Speakers Corner is situated in the north-eastern corner of Hyde Park, opposite Marble Arch. Whilst it is nothing much to look at, it is London’s most famous place for public debate. Free speech and banter is the name of the game here, and anyone with something to say can step up and speak their mind.

This was the first royal park opened to the public in 1637. On its corner stands Speakers Corner where on a Sunday morning speakers pontificate of every subject under the sun. During the summer band concert, softball games and boating on the lake takes place. However whilst safe during the day it is better avoided at night.

Its origins date from the 1700s, when Tyburn was still a site of public execution. Condemned men were allowed one last speech before they met their maker, and the memory has stuck throughout the centuries. It gained a huge boost in 1855, when a crowd gathered to rail against the Sunday Trading Bill. When the police arrived to arrest the ringleader, they were met by a mob 150,000 strong.

It moved to its present location, the northeast corner of Hyde Park in 1851. Just beyond it, in the park, is the Speakers’ Corner, where soap- box orators sometimes put on a diverting show.It runs through Oxford Circus and passes many department stores on its way to Marble Arch. Modeled on the Arch of Constantine in Rome, Marble Arch was designed to serve as a gate to Buckingham Palace, but was British Travel Association BEHEMOTH — London tour bus passes Parliament Square and Big Ben. moved to its present location, the northeast corner of Hyde Park in 1851. Just beyond it, in the park, is the Speakers’ Corner, where soap- box orators sometimes Speak there mind.

The events of June 1855 at Speakers’ Corner inspired Karl Marx ( the disliker of democracy ) to declare that the English proletariat had begun their inexorable rise and that social revolution leading to a communist state was under way. “This alliance between a degenerate, dissipated and pleasure-seeking aristocracy and the church — built on a foundation of filthy and calculated profiteering on the part of the beer magnates and monopolistic wholesalers — gave rise to a mass demonstration in Hyde Park. As in most things neo-communist this was another failed attempt to create a revolution in England which failed because we in England held with suspicion anyone who tried to cause dis-harmony and invariably they would fail miserably. This is probably why Karl Marx and his ilk went back to where they came from. Typically they used our freedoms to try to undermine all freedoms.

The history of Speakers Corner began in 1872. It was then that an Act of Parliament, otherwise known as law, was passed giving up a small corner of Hyde Park to pubic speaking. Throughout the years, great debates and large crowds were common. Today, not so much, but this is still considered a must see. If you are easily offended by many of today’s political and religious issues or if you cannot stand to hear another word about the “impending apocalypse,” it may be best to walk away or put your hands over your ears.

During 1872 the place had started to gain a nationwide fame, and a legal licence was granted to allow sizeable meetings.

There are many Speakers Corner around the world in Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, Trinidad and tobago, Thailand and Malaysia and in English Cities Nottingham, Worthing based on London’s Speaker Corner.

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Copyright © 2010 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.

My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th Century AD. I am also a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren which has given me an interest in English History which is great fun to research.

 

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