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General sound map

Recordings of background atmospheres and incidental noises from all over London. Some form part of a sound grid series recorded at evenly-spaced points across the city, each marking the centre of a square on the map below.

1 3 5
2 4 3 3 11
1 1 1 1 6 5 7 16 21 3 18 1 1
2 8 22 11 3 5 5 17 5 4 2 1 4 1  
3 11 4 7 9 6 25 39 21 38 8 1 5    
1 3 5 7 5 48 42 56 38 11 8 3 2
1 1 2 7 6 15 8 40 15 5 1 1 4
1 1 41 2 8 4 1 9 7 1 1
3 4 3 7 1 3 5 2  
6 1 20 6 1 3 1 1
1 1 2 1 1
1 1

Above: graphic based on a daytime satellite image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Each red grid square is 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers across.

Grosvenor Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 1.35pm

Location: Pathway running westwards from Grosvenor Road, Twickenham.

Description: Airplane drone, a train horn sounds, birdsong, distant traffic, the wind stirs nearby foliage, a pedestrian passes by with a wheeled shopping trolley, the clatter of a train.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Sherland Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 1.50pm

Location: Sherland Road near junction with Station Road West, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, sounds of desultory building activity, faint voices, airplane drone, footsteps.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Clifden Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.05pm

Location: Halfway along Clifden Road, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, faint sounds from a passing train, two cars drive past, birdsong, intermittent noise of building work in mid-distance, voices and clapping of children from a school opposite.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Tudor Gardens TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.10pm

Location: Tudor Gardens off Clifden Road, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, a crow caws, faint birdsong, faint noise of some kind of power tool, contact calls of parakeets, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Heath Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.20pm

Location: Heath Road, Twickenham.

Description: Loud traffic passing close by, beeps of a reversing lorry, faint footsteps, a car door slams.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Wharf Lane TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.30pm

Location: East side of Wharf Lane, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, faint calls of jackdaws, distant cawing of crows, birdsong, a car door slams, footsteps, airplane drone, a car drives past, voices of passersby.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cornwall Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.40pm

Location: North end of Cornwall Road, Twickenham.

Description: Faint rattle of a jackhammer, distant traffic, faint birdsong, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

York House tennis courts TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: By the tennis courts to the east of York House, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, a dog barks, cooing of woodpigeons, faint birdsong, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

York House Gardens TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 2.55pm

Location: In York House Gardens immediately south of York House off Richmond Road, Twickenham.

Description: Constant trickling from a nearby water feature, distant traffic, birdsong, a dog's faint yapping, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Lebanon Park TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3pm

Location: Halfway along the northern part of Lebanon Park, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, patter of raindrops on nearby foliage, contact calls of parakeets, a crow caws, faint airplane drone, cooing of a woodpigeon.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Orleans Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3,20pm

Location: Towards southern end of Orleans Road, Twickenham.

Description: Distant traffic, cries of children from a school playground, birdsong, a power tool in the mid-distance, contact calls of parakeets, a woman's voice heard indistinctly then growing louder, footsteps, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Thames path Marble Hill December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3.30pm

Location: On the Thames path at Marble Hill Park near Hammerton's Ferry, Twickenham.

Description: Contact calls of ring-necked parakeets, distant traffic, a car starts and drives off in the mid-distance, faint birdsong, footsteps, brief yapping of one dog and sustained whining of another, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Marble Hill Park north TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3.40pm

Location: North side of Marble Hill Park, around 100 years south of Richmond Road, Twickenham.

Description: Traffic on Richmond Road, contact calls of parakeets, airplane drone, a dog barks, distant cries of children.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cresswell Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3.50pm

Location: Towards southern end of Cresswell Road, Twickenham.

Description: A lorry drives past, sawing and other sounds from building work on a house, faint chatter of a magpie, airplane drone, distant traffic, a crow caws.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Willoughby Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 3.55pm

Location: Willoughby Road, Twickenham.

Description: Birdsong, light aircraft drone, constant traffic in distance, footsteps of passersby, contact calls of ring-necked parakeets, a child's voice and faint adult voices heard briefly.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Park Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 4.05pm

Location: Park Road near junction with Ducks Walk, Twickenham.

Description: Airplane drone, faint birdsong, voices and desultory activity from a nearby building site, the noise of an electric brick hoist, footsteps close by.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Park House Gardens TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 4.10pm

Location: Towards eastern end of Park House Gardens, Twickenham.

Description: Airplane drone, birdsong, distant traffic, repeated alarm call of a blackbird, a resident leaves their house nearby.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Ravensbourne Road TW1 December 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 8 December 2015

Time of day: 4.15pm

Location: Junction of Ravensbourne Road and Ellesmere Road, Twickenham.

Description: Emergency services sirens in distance, birdsong, voices of a passing mother and her children, a car door slams in the street, distant traffic, indistinct noise of a power tool which stops, faint airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Clevedon Road TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 3.45pm

Location: Facing the tennis courts on Clevedon Road, Twickenham.

Description: A young child cries, constant traffic in distance, sounds of a group of players packing up on the tennis courts, loud airplane drone, faint bird calls, indistinct voices.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Thames towpath TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 3.45pm

Location: On the Thames towpath immediately south of the junction with the Cambridge Park footpath, Twickenham.

Description: Airplane drone, constant traffic crossing Richmond Bridge, a bird sings nearby, faint calls of a coot, passing cyclists, the wind stirs foliage, calls of jackdaws.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Roseleigh Close TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 3.40pm

Location: Roseleigh Close off Cambridge Park, Twickenham.

Description: Loud airplane drone, birdsong, a householder sands his home's front door.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Marble Hill Park TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 3.25pm

Location: Midway along the main path which runs from north to south through Marble Hill Park, Twickenham.

Description: Birdsong, faint voices in the distance, loud airplane drone, a dog barks.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

St Stephens Gardens TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 3pm

Location: Halfway along St Stephen's Gardens, Twickenham.

Description: Constant traffic in distance, faint birdsong, faint sounds of desultory activity in the street, brief sound of a power tool in the mid-distance, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Orleans Road TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: Towards northern end of Orleans Road, Twickenham.

Description: Constant traffic on Richmond Road, voices and chanting of children from a nearby school, a woodpigeon coos, sounds of desultory activity from a group of workmen to the south on Orleans Road.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Leeson House TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.40pm

Location: Behind Leeson House flats off Haggard Road, Twickenham.

Description: Constant traffic on Richmond Road, a baby cries in a nearby flat, a woman's faint voice, birdsong, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Victoria Road TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.35pm

Location: Towards southern end of Victoria Road, Twickenham.

Description: Birdsong, children's voices in distance, airplane drone, a distant mechanical or electrical hum, the wind stirs nearby foliage, footsteps of a passerby, scrape of a wheeled suitcase, a woman's indistinct laughter towards end.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Strafford Road TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.30pm

Location: Strafford Road near junction with Haggard Road, Twickenham.

Description: Occasional passing vehicles, footsteps, a constant mechanical or electrical hum, faint birdsong, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cheltenham Avenue TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.25pm

Location: Halfway along Cheltenham Avenue, Twickenham.

Description: Voices in mid-distance of children in a school playground, a car passes by slowly and sounds it horn before it comes to a halt and its driver gets out, distant traffic.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Arragon Road TW1 May 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 21 May 2015

Time of day: 2.15pm

Location: Arragon Road near junction with London Road, Twickenham.

Description: Men unload a delivery lorry nearby, voices of passersby, constant traffic on London Road and Arragon Road.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Riverside TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 3.10pm

Location: Outside the White Swan pub, Riverside, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: Voices of pub-goers sitting outside, calls of waterfowl, clink of glass and cutlery, two cars and a cyclist go slowly past.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Holly Road Gardens TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 2.25pm

Location: Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: A tree surgeon cuts down a small tree nearby with a chainsaw, then cuts the trunk into manageable lengths. A crow caws, faint voices.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Queens Road TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 2.35pm

Location: Queens Road, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: Faint voices and birdsong in a quiet residential street, noise of a chainsaw in the distance, a car passes, airplane drone, the wind stirs nearby bushes and trees.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Church Street TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 2.40pm

Location: Church Street, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: A child's voice, footsteps of passersby, voices and clatter of cutlery from nearby restaurants, a van turns into the narrow street, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Eel Pie Island July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 2.55pm

Location: On a footpath on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: The wind rustles nearby foliage, voices and hammering sounds from a house being built or renovated, a resident walks out of a door in a fence and away down the path.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Marble Hill Park July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 3.20pm

Location: Middle of Marble Hill Park, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: Loud airplane drone, calls of jays and other birdsong, voices in the mid-distance, the wind rustles leaves in nearby trees.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Vivienne Close TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 4pm

Location: Off Cambridge Park, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: Quiet residential street with occasional cars and people passing by, airplane drone, the wind rustles leaves in nearby trees.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Richmond Road TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 4.10pm

Location: Richmond Road opposite junction with Cresswell Road, south-west London.

Description: Loud, constant traffic passing along Richmond Road, music heard briefly from a car, another car pulls up and parks opposite.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Old House Gardens TW1 July 2:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 9 July 2013

Time of day: 4.20pm

Location: Off Park Road, Twickenham, south-west London.

Description: Quiet residential street with distant traffic and siren, slamming of a car door and faint desultory activity nearby.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Thames path Richmond 5:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 1 April 2012

Time of day: 12.30pm

Location: Thames path at Richmond, facing Cambridge Gardens.

Description: Busy scene recorded while sitting on the river's edge. Cyclists and pedestrians pass by on the path behind, an airplane flies overhead, activity on a pontoon in the river, sound of the river lapping.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Sony PCM M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Teddington weir 1:00

Grid square: Twickenham, Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 30 April 2010

Time of day: 4pm

Location: On the Thames path near Teddington weir, south-west London.

Description: Constant rushing of water from the weir, a siren is heard briefly, honking of a Canada goose.

Technical guff: Stereo. Audio Technica BP4025 mic and Fostex FR-2LE digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 1647 7309 1:00

Grid square: Twickenham. Teddington, Strawberry Hill

Recording date: 18 February 2009

Time of day: 12.30pm

Location: OS reference TQ 1647 7309. By the footbridge leading onto Eel Pie Island.

Description: People feed ducks, geese and pigeons at the Eel Pie Island footbridge on the Thames side. A feeding frenzy is under way among the birds. A van pulls away and a crow caws loudly from its pulpit on the footbridge's handrail.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics. Olympus LS-10 digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

About general sound map recordings

The majority of recordings on the general sound map are simply of curious or distinctive sounds heard around London. Some also appear elsewhere as part of the 12 Tones of London statistical recording project, and here are subsumed into their appropriate grid squares.

These kinds of recordings always have descriptive file names which don't require any further explanation. But just over a hundred others have ones consisting only of the letters 'TQ' followed by eight digits. These are the Ordnance Survey co-ordinates marking the exact centre of each of the sound map's 112 grid squares, and so these file names tell you with some precision where the recordings were made. Reaching each point was done with the help of a GPS receiver and a willingness to scramble over fences and run onto golf courses. The contents of those recordings are summarised in the graphic below:

The key on the left-hand side shows the most common sound categories encountered. The louder a particular sound type encountered at the centre of a grid square, the darker its icon. More than one icon of the same kind means that sound takes up more of the recording's length. Despite the wide spacing of the recording points and the brief duration of the sound files, they seem to do a reasonable job of plotting in outline the common or persistent sound types heard around London during the daytime.