LONDON Speakers' Corner historical pictures

Victor Zammit AND OTHER SPEAKERS at LONDON Speakers' Corner
Marble Arch, London Hyde Park, England and Sydney Speakers Domain Sydney Australia

London Speakers' Corner is symbolic of the democratic process: freedom of speech and assembly. But to many people it is a place for entertainment. Many tourists who visited London Speakers' Corner were absolutely stunned at the British tradition of freedom of speech.

Speakers' Corner - London and Sydney- 32 historical pictures

Long before talkback radio and the internet, Speakers’ Corner in London and Sydney attracted many thousands of people every Sunday afternoon. From the 1870’s until about 1985 Speakers’ Corner was a place where people shared new and sometimes radical ideas. It was an afternoon out- free entertainment, politics and education. Orators John Webster and Victor Zammit who both spoke in London Speakers Corner as well as Sydney Domain Speakers Corner in the 1970‘s held crowds of thousands spellbound with their brilliant oratory. Sadly today (2010) London Speaker's corner is only a fraction of what it was and Sydney Speaker's Domain is virtually silent.


Victor Zammit orating at Speakers' Corner Sydney

Victor Zammit (inside the black circle) attracted huge crowds at Speakers' Corner
- Marble Arch, Hyde Park, London, this picture 2002. People loved Victor's great sense of humor ... that was part of his successful formula which worked all the time.

There were - and still are those speakers at Speakers' Corner who defend and those who speak against the government, against taxation of all kinds, against being involved in wars in the Middle East and the Far East. The Christians, Human Rights Campaigners, the Israelis, the Socialists, religious crusaders, women's' liberation, atheism, pro and anti-Americanism, those for and those against the monarchy, world revolutionists speak every Sunday afternoon at Speakers' Corner.

Visiting speakers from other countries such as from Australia visit London's Speakers' Corner at Marble Arch. It is a tradition going back hundreds of years ago. Police visit this highly provocative to maintain order.

A memorable statement by a British police officer afterlife there was some fighting will never be forgotten. He said (with some humour):

"All right you lot. Those who want to invade the Queen's home here on one side - get your own platform. And you lot who don't want to invade the Queen's home, keep your platform away from this lot here!"

That is democracy. That is freedom of speech and that is freedom of assembly. A great British tradition in practice

The rivalry between capitalism and communism was at all time very high in the early 1970's.. Victor states that it was critical then to entertain the big crowds. The use of humor, satire and vicious wit were essential. Victor's message was sandwiched between the humor and the satire, between serious oratory and the sharp one liners. At times hecklers tried to take Victor on - but as always, Victor showed he had vast experience in dealing with the most aggressive hecklers. The extracts below were recorded in the early seventies at a time when the cold war was still very intense. The oratory, the heckling, the wit, the dialogue reflects the attitudes of the historical times of the early seventies. Of course, the great orators like Lord Soper, Webster and others have gone. The great oratory has gone too. So have the big crowds.

The transcript of one afternoon's talk on the next page gives the reader a good idea of the oratory, entertainment and confrontations that went on in an era of the 1970's which are not likely to come back ever again. This unique edited documentary evidence of these highly interesting transcripts at Speakers' Corner are not to be found anywhere else.

Read Transcript

Victor Zammit: vz@victorzammit.com