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Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park

969 of 1170 nominations


Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park

Is this an icon?


Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park

If you feel passionately about something, you’ve got as much right as anyone else to climb on a box and share your views at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. You’d be in good company too – Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin, Marcus Garvey and thousands of others have voiced their views on this corner of Park Lane and Cumberland Gate.

It wasn’t always so. Londoners fought long and hard for the right to public speaking on this site. When the Reform League’s campaign for the right to free speech here came to a head in 1866, Hyde Park already had a reputation as a gathering place for demonstrations and dissent. Legislation came in 1872 with the Royal Parks and Gardens Regulation Act - and Speakers' Corner has never looked back.

Sunday morning is the best time to visit and listen to free speech in action – from the inspirational to the downright cranky.

Photo: TopFoto.co.uk


Your comments

Most of the foreign friends I know consider Speakers' Corner to represent the essence of a free, democratic society.

John Stevenson

To me, Speaker's Corner represents the ultimate in trying to explain freedom to other co-visitors from India, and now from other countries too. It represents the cutting edge of British people of all sorts. I just wish they had a television channel with regular feeds.
V. Malik

Speakers Corner is arguably an ex-icon of England. Despite freedom of expression being a legal human right (Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, 1998) it is continually being eroded. Complete freedom of expression is probably an unrealistic ideal. And, Voltaire was undoubtedly wrong when he said, ?I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?, if he had intended it as an absolute principle. Nevertheless, I suspect the majority of people in England and the rest of the United Kingdom, regardless of ethnic origin or religious persuasion, would rather err on the side of Voltaire than err on the side of such people who would wish to further restrict our human right to the freedom of expression.

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My nomination is the garden shed.