How Many of Us Were There?
I’m hearing various media-approved estimates for the crowd at today’s tea party, and they seem to hover just north of 2,000 people. Not being sure what the methodology might have been — and suspecting it had a bit of that old give a little credit here, take a little adjustment there — I thought I’d have a go at coming up with something with at least some attempt to be accurate.
So, I took two photos that I took in succession from up high on the steps (here and here) and joined them at a roughly central depth (overlapping the green signs to the left of the second picture), as follows:
As you can see with the buildings and the trees, the different perspectives from which I took the pictures causes some doubling, but the span of the crowd that I’m looking at is relatively narrow in height, and it’s also central in the photo. In other words, what I gained slightly above the mid-point was reasonably comparable to what I lost beneath it.
I drew a 1×1 square (the number is arbitrary) and moved it around the field to estimate the average number of people within it at 7. I then drew a box around the crowd (rotated so as not to have empty space in the corners) and by calculating the box’s size, figured there to be 2,597 people in that main cobbled area. I then added a conservative estimate of 50 more people on the walkways and down by the road, bringing the subtotal to 2,647.
Taking this picture of the steps from about the same time, I repeated the method for the lower and upper tiers, the former showing 245 people and the latter showing 287.
Granted the method is crude, but I’m reasonably sure that my fudges around the edges cancel out, which makes the total attendance at the time of this picture (roughly quarter to five) 3,179. Given that people were coming and going over the course of the three-hour event, the total attendance was probably in the 3,500–4,000 range.