An oral history project about Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park
This volunteer-led project preserves and celebrates the heritage of Speakers’ Corner from 1866, when the Reform League tore down the gates of Hyde Park, to the present day. It is managed by On the Record in partnership with Bishopsgate Institute and has been funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust.
Download the Sounds from the Park Leaflet.
Discover what the project is recording on our blog here.
The project is working to achieve:
- 20 oral history interviews recorded with speakers, hecklers and listeners past and present
- An archive dedicated to Speakers’ Corner at Bishopsgate Institute
- Youth groups, schools and community organisations getting involved and learning about Speakers’ Corners history
Speakers’ Corner is a place where strangers, who would not otherwise meet, debate all manner of ideas. It is probably the most famous site of free expression in the world. From the 1930s to the 1970s, a vibrant culture of direct political engagement, street theatre, heckling and debate was at its peak.
Sounds from the Park will provide a new perspective on social and political developments in 20th century Britain. The platforms at Speakers’ Corner included women’s suffrage, pacifism, socialism, LGBT rights, national liberation and religion alongside comic, often eccentric, speakers who entertained the crowds.
Do you have memories or photos to share?
- We are looking for people who spoke at, heckled or visited Speakers’ Corner and would like to share their memories with the project. Interviews can be recorded in the comfort of your own home, or at the Bishopsgate Institute.
- If you have photographs or other material from Speakers’ Corner, would you consider donating a copy to the archive?
- Contact us to find out more
Get involved as a volunteer
Volunteer opportunities include:
- Oral history interviewing,
- Creating the archive,
- Transcribing and summarising interviews,
- Working to produce an exhibition, website and radio piece
All volunteers will receive support and training to take part in these activities.
- Contact us to find out more.