Speakers' Corner Bulletin 02 - 2nd July 2014

1. Letter from TA to Dennis Clarke, Head of Services at the Royal Parks. on the subject of spending £500,000 on so-called improvements at the same time while failing to provide public toilets at Speakers' Corner.

2. Copy of 87 page (mostly pics) Report commissioned by the Royal Parks 2010 and presumably binned. Note: This was just before we lost the toilets in the renovation of the Marble Arch Traffic Island.

Dear Dennis Clarke
With reference to our meeting at Speakers’ Corner 9am Thursday 19th June. This Sunday (22nd June) myself and other Speakers’ Corner regulars spent an hour in modest exercise checking out the accessibility of the various toilets.

First we reminded ourselves of what we had lost and looked down into what is now known (by street people) as the Void - on the Marble Arch Traffic Island. The toilet was once accessible by pedestrian underpass to the pavement outside the park close to the gate, and was less than 2 minutes away.

2. We accompanied Eric, one of the Speakers’ Corner elders, to McDonalds on Oxford Street; a trip he makes at least twice every Sunday. We crossed the one way system via 4 sets of pedestrian crossings, negotiated an anti-ISIS demonstration on the traffic Island and arrived at a very busy McDonalds where he entered and waited his turn. Time: 7minutes.

3. The Underground car park toilet (a matter of seconds away) was inaccessible unless we waited for (and negotiated with) someone with a ticket.

4. We followed the official signpost that read ‘Toilets 500 metres’ which directed us on a path across the meadow to the current construction site where there were no further directions only an arbitrary choice of routes to circumnavigate the obstacles.

5. We returned and used what is ironically known by the more agile male speakers as the ‘Staff Toilet’ - over the fence and in the circular hedge surrounding the car park air vent. This has been temporarily inaccessible for a few weeks with the replacement of the fencing. Unlike the younger ones, I only managed to gain access with the help of my stepladder.

Your gardeners incidentally had cleaned up the interior, but I don’t suppose that will continue.

Apart from my involvement as a speaker, I have an active interest in encouraging new speakers and to see the place grow and flourish. I would like to believe that your position as Head of Park Services is sympathetic to my agenda, but instead of sharing my ideas of running workshops and supporting young talent, I find myself in opposition to you, lobbying and campaigning for very obvious and basic improvements.

I am available most weekdays in the afternoon to discuss any of the points raised in the above. Also I would like to meet you at Speakers’ Corner when one of the Summer rock concerts are in progress and hear your responses to some of the very serious views of dissatisfied tourists and regulars who have come to hear and experience what your own publicity celebrates as ‘free speech in action’.

Yours in anticipation
Tony Allen

2. 87-Page Report commissioned by the Royal Parks 2010.

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