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London life in sound

Welcome to the London Sound Survey, a growing collection of Creative Commons-licensed sound recordings of people, places and events in the capital. Historical references too are gathered to find out how London's sounds have changed.

FEATURED RECORDING
Photograph by Robin Webster from Geograph.
WHAT'S ON THE LONDON SOUND SURVEY

LONDON UNSEEN

A new series of sound graphics featuring field recordings from anonymised London districts, with the only clues being the distances between recording points given as walking times and the sounds themselves. Do you know London well enough to guess where these places might be? Go there »

ANDRE'S LONDON

Hear the city's busy thoroughfares and quieter corners through the ears (and Jecklin disc stereo array) of musician and recordist Andre Louis. His thoughts on why he records are rendered in braille to form the basis for a new London sound graphic. Go there »

THE HACKNEY YEAR

A hundred recordings of birdsong and city ambience captured by wide-awake wildlife recordist Richard Beard in a back garden in Hackney, north-east London. Part of a series made each morning around 6.30am between March 2012 and March 2013. Go there »

12 TONES OF LONDON

London's geography and demographics explored by using statistics to sort 2011 Census data into clusters. 12 archetypal council wards are then selected to record sound profiles which, touch wood, can be generalised across much of the city. The first part of the new Projects section. Go there »

RADIO ACTUALITY

The sounds of London events and street life from the 1920s to the 1950s in old BBC radio broadcasts, digitised for the first time from their original 78 rpm transcription discs. Now with a new, layered sound map. Reproduced by kind permission of BBC Worldwide. Go there »

WATERWAYS SOUND MAP

Recordings collected along London's canals, lesser rivers and streams and made into a pastiche of the London Underground map. Man-made noise, the calls of wildlife and the restless voice of water passing through culverts, weirs and channels.
Go there »

RICHARD BEARD'S HACKNEY WILDLIFE

High-quality urban wildlife recordings made by Stoke Newington- based recordist Richard Beard. This addition to the original London wildlife section features birdsong and the calls of some other animals from Abney Park, Walthamstow Marshes and elsewhere. Go there »

SOUND MAP RECORDINGS

Stereo recordings of ambient sounds all across London, including a grid series of recordings made at regular points on the map. From woodland and suburban streets to steam museums and night-time West End crowds. Go there »

THAMES ESTUARY RECORDINGS

Recordings made along the Kent and Essex shores of the Thames estuary, as well as further inland, capturing the sounds of industry, wildlife, marshland, and towns from Dartford to Sheerness. Go there »

SOUND ACTION RECORDINGS

Stereo recordings of sounds designed and made to have an impact on other people, and also of events where there's a main focus of attention. Includes traders' cries in London markets, voices of officialdom, hustlers, buskers, pub singalongs, carnivals and parades. Go there »

HISTORICAL SOUNDS AND MAPS

London history explored through its past sounds in works by Pepys, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Orwell and others. Accounts include how loud the London Bridge cataracts were and the sales-patter of quack doctors. Also, search for time-obliterated places with historical London maps in high resolution. Go there »