Chris Kennett

Chris Kennett, who first visited as a schoolboy in 1961, regularly cycled all the way from Harrow to Marble Arch and back. The exuberant personalities and exotic atmosphere gave him a buzz. Chris kept his Sunday visits secret from some of his school friends who would not understand Speakers’ Corner’s appeal. He took detailed notes and, back at home, performed the exchanges between speakers and hecklers for his brother’s entertainment. Later he invested in a camera and a tape recorder. Chris enjoyed listening to hecklers as much as speakers, especially Mary, who barged into meetings and menaced speakers with her crutches. Another favourite was “Holy Bob the Banner Man” who engaged in a call and response quasi-religious singing act with the crowd. After marrying and moving further away from London, Chris recently returned and found Speakers’ Corner had changed. A few of the old characters were still there, but the crowds were smaller, with fewer entertainers and hecklers.

Audio of Chris

“Holy Bob”