These fascinating photos show people and everyday life at London’s Portobello Road and Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner in 1968. The photographs were taken with Pentax SLR 35mm.
The first stop is Portobello Road, with its seedy atmosphere, where the original white working-class neighbourhood was having to awkwardly mix with a burgeoning West Indian immigrant community who lived in overpriced and under-equipped homes rented from the notorious and disreputable landlord Peter Rachman, and hippies who frequented the local ‘head shops.’
Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner is the closest paved area to Marble Arch. Still, legally the public speaking area extends a long way beyond Reform Tree and involves areas along the Serpentine and along the Broad Walk from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch. Marx, Lenin, and Orwell are just some greats who have attended the area to demonstrate their freedom of speech.
An act of parliament designated this part of Hyde Park for public speaking in 1872. Speakers’ Corner is still a popular place for enthusiasts to recite their views on a Sunday morning. Everyone is welcome to appear unannounced and speak about any topic.