For centuries Speakers corner in Hyde park has been the place where Londoners have stood on boxes and practised their right of free speech. Today some speakers talk complete nonsense to make the crowd laugh, others tell smutty jokes and some shout their political or religious views to the London crowd who boo or applaud.
I remember walking through this area as a child and being fascinated by its strange atmosphere and the strong feelings of the speakers and listeners.
It was on this site close to Marble Arch where the infamous Tyburn hanging tree once stood and it was at the foot of these gallows that the tradition of free speech began.
It was at Tyburn that condemned prisoners gave their last speech on the gallows before their death making the area an ideal place for public debate and discussion. From this hanging tree culture speakers corner evolved into what it is today and the right of free speech was born.
Continue reading “Places of execution in Tudor London and their positive affect on Britain today…”
In 1581 a woman from Strasbourg stepped into the street and began to dance wildly. Her name was Frau Troffea and she had no music to dance to and her face showed no signs of pleasure. Her involuntary jig lasted all day long and after hours of exhaustion she collapsed in a sweaty heap.
Within hours she was up again and resuming her silent dance. She danced all through that day until she collapsed and slept briefly.
By the third day Frau Troffea had bloody and bruised feet but her dancing continued. Now a concerned group of neighbours surrounded her as sweat dripped down her back and her shoes filled with blood. Some of them knelt in prayer and others attempted to stop her dance with no success. Continue reading “Dance Until Death… The dancing plague of 1581…”
Black people have lived in Britain since the Roman occupation over 1000 years ago. The first black people in England were not victims and they contributed far more to English history than they are usually given credit for. The shameful and barbaric English slave trade did not begin until after Queen Elizabeth the first’s death and the black men and women living in England before then were totally free.
This cannot be said for other kingdoms in Europe and by 1502 the Spanish were transporting black slaves from Africa to South America for profit. Some of these slave ships were intercepted and raided by English Privateers (Pirates) and the slaves were brought to England and freed. According to historian David Olusoga on BBC Bitesize, Africans brought to England were accepted and lead very normal lives. Some were employed by merchants, seamstresses, beer brewers, silk and needle makers. They lived as far out of London as Suffolk working in the cloth trade which was the most important English trade at that time. The records show that Black Christians were baptised, married and buried in English churches.
According to Historian Miranda Kaufmann’s website, ‘It really was true that Africans in England were free. Diogo, an African who had been taken to England by an English pirate in 1614, later reported to the Portuguese Inquisition that when he laid foot on English soil, “he immediately became free, because in that reign nobody is a slave.”
The English were more interested in trading in pepper, gold, pearls and ivory than in people Continue reading “They were NOT slaves… It’s time to talk about black Tudors…”