Richard Headicar

Richard Headicar visited Speakers’ Corner as a young man in the 1950s. Now an atheist, he was inspired at an early age by the oratorical flair of three Methodists: Donald Soper, Leslie Weatherhead and William Sangster. His first platform was the light hearted “People’s Retrogressive Party,” but he became serious about nuclear disarmament after hearing Donald Soper talk about the gratuitousness of bombing Hiroshima and conducting his own independent research. Richard joined the Committee of 100, was arrested for his anti-nuclear campaigning and served a sentence in prison. Bertrand Russell and Vanessa Redgrave spoke on his platform at this time. He earned a reputation for patience, accuracy and welcoming questions. He says: “You have to be able to listen for at least double that time to what other people have to say, or you have nothing to say yourself.” Richard’s subject matter later broadened after meeting the radical Hungarian philosopher and poet Alfred Reynolds. Reynolds was a Speakers’ Corner regular who had rebelled against the Soviet regime and developed denazification techniques in Germany and Norway. Richard became Alfred’s biographer. Richard is also a longstanding member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB).

Audio of Richard

“Certainly a very big mistake”

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“I was a jailbird”

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About the project

Sounds from the Park is a unique oral and visual history of Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park: the UK’s last great open air oratory site.

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Our exhibition can be seen online here or read our booklet about Speakers' Corner.

See the exhibition

Radio show

Our radio show can be listened to here.

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Education resources

History and Citizenship resources for Key Stage 3 and 4. Complete with a timeline of events at Speakers' Corner and other resources.

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