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Get on your Soapbox in Hyde Park London

October 19th 2008 21:30
A great way to spend a Sunday morning in London is at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. Located at the North East end of the Park near Marble Arch Tube Station, Speakers Corner allows people to speak on any subject without fear of legal repercussions, unless of course you are talking about the monarchy, or over throwing the British Government.

You do not need an invitation to speak just a passion for your subject. The morning I visited, I heard discussions and debates on range of topics, from the state of moral decline in society, to the war in Iraq, as I moved from one group to the next. Of course, there were also the extreme Christians.

At first, you may think that it is just nutters having a rant, and there certainly a few of those, but listen closely, there are some very clever speakers who really know their stuff. Some of the more well-known people who have rallied at Hyde Park are Karl Marx, Orwell, and Lenin.

There is plenty of crowd participation to, as visitors debate and heckle with the speakers.

I have been told that the origin of the saying “On your Soapbox” originates back to the 1870s when there used to be a Sunlight Soap Factory across the road. Factory staff used to bring the wooden soapboxes over to speakers corner to use as a platform. Nowadays speakers stand on stepladders but the debates are no less intense or passionate.

Travel is all about meeting and learning about other people. I walked away from speakers corner feeling mentally stimulated, and privileged at having the opportunity to glimpse the workings of other people’s psyches.

What ’s more, this one of the very few free performances you are going to see in London.


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