A busy Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

If you ever fancy a good argument – or maybe just want to listen to a reasoned/mad/weird rant or two – then there’s no finer place in the capital than Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

Speakers can talk about whatever takes their fancy, and although people assume that Speakers’ Corner is afforded some sort of special privilege,  speakers are only exercising the same rights available to  all of us anywhere in the UK.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

In the Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999) test case, Lord Justice Sedley described Speakers’ Corner as demonstrating “the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear.”

The case established that freedom of speech could not be limited to just inoffensive comments,  but also  extended to “the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence.”

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

A rather intimate crowd greeted these four who were busy banging out the Ten Commandants to no great effect.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

Not really sure what this guys was on about.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

This cheery lot were set on out-singing every other religion in the area, and joyfully banged out happy-clappy Godsquad classics.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

The guy got excited enough to jump up in front of the singers and bust a few dancefloor moves.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

I liked this Christian guy. He embarked on a good-natured tussle of words with these Muslim lads and he proved to be a very charismatic and persuasive speaker.

The banter and heckling at Speakers Corner can be very entertaining indeed.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

While all the shouting was going on, these laid back folks decided to shelter from the rain and relax under a tree in the park. Well, it was a Sunday, after all.

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

The battle of words continues!

Shouting at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, on a wet Sunday

A last look back at Speakers’ Corner.

More info:
Speakers’ Corner photos, April 2007
Corners of London

[wikipedia entry]