May 05 2012

POTD: Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park

by in Photo of the Day, United Kingdom, Western Europe

speakers corner hyde park

When I lived in London and my friends from the US would visit, I would always take them to Hyde Park. The park itself is lovely, especially on a warm summer’s day when you can enjoy a Pimm’s Cup at one of the hotels near Hyde Park, but the main attraction is really the Speakers’ Corner. Located in the northeast corner of the park, Speakers’ Corner is an area where you will find a number of people standing on stools, yelling about whatever subject they are most passionate about. Since most of the subjects tend to be controversial (politics, religion, etc) you’ll often find audience members arguing with and heckling the speakers standing before them. Robert’s Rules or Order definitely don’t apply here.

Londoners have been debating and heckling each other at Speakers’ Corner since the late 1800s. Some of the most well-known people to drag their soapboxes to Speakers’ Corner have been Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and George Orwell. These days, you’ll often find, within mere feet of each other, a Christian preacher and Muslim imam arguing over religion, a socialist railing against the European Union, and a dejected football fan complaining about his team’s latest loss. Some speakers will have large crowds gathered around them, while others will find themselves ignored entirely. It’s an interesting, and always entertaining, showcase of London’s diversity, so if you find yourself in London on a pleasant Sunday morning, I’d recommend a visit to Speakers’ Corner. The closest London Underground station is Marble Arch on the Central Line.

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