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On 23 July 1866 a protest took place in Hyde Park, London, which provides a lens through which to analyze historical struggles over access to, and control of, public space. What began as a protest in favor of manhood suffrage became a conflict over the character and purpose of the park. It sparked public debates about which groups of people could access Hyde Park, and what activities were acceptable within it. These debates raise questions about who was entitled to make such decisions and the impact of these decisions on London's radical culture. This article uses newspaper articles and parliamentary debates to explore the dispute that unfolded both before and after the Hyde Park Railings Affair. In doing so, it furthers our understanding of the geographies of protest and the ongoing negotiation of public space.