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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.

Cottage cafe Beddington 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 1 July 2014

Time of day: 12 noon.

Location: Inside the Cottage Cafe, Beddington Farm Road, south London.

Description: Noisy cafe interior with customers talking, loud music from a radio, noises of food being prepared.

Technical guff: In-ear binaural stereo. 2 x Soundman OKM II Classic mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Beddington Corner east 2:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 11.55am

Location: Inside Beddington Farm sewage works/nature reserve, east London.

Description: Loud clatter and noise of earthmovers at work, birdsong all around, cawing of crows, a train passes in the mid-distance.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Beddington Corner south 3:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 11.15am

Location: Footpath on west side of Beddington Farm, south London.

Description: Loud birdsong, cawing of crows, stridulation of grasshoppers, loud airplane drone, distant noise of earthmovers.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Go kart track Mitcham Common 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 12.35pm

Location: Go-kart track off Jessops Way, south London.

Description: Noise of go-karts as they circle the track, the wind stirs nearby foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hand car wash Beddington Lane 4:40

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 27 June 2014

Time of day: 11.25am

Location: Beddington Lane near junction with Beddington Cross, south London

Description: Voices of car wash staff, loud hiss of pressure washers, passing traffic, noises of compressor and drying unit.

Technical guff: In-ear binaural stereo, 2 x OKM II Classic mics and Roland R05 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Landfill site Beddington Farm 2:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 12.10pm

Location: Immediately west of the Beddington Farm landfill site, south London.

Description: Clatter and rumble of earthmovers working on the landfill site, calls of crows and jackdaws, the wind stirs nearby foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Manhole cover Beddington gravel works 1:50

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 11am

Location: Abandoned gravel works near Beddington Farm, south London.

Description: Hissing noises and a hollow rumbling emanate from beneath a manhole cover, sound of earthmovers in the distance.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Railway footbridge Mitcham Common 2:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 10.45am

Location: Footbridge due east of Mitcham Junction station, south London.

Description: Birdsong all around, distant traffic and sounds of industrial activity, airplane drone, faint sound of a passing train.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: M Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Therapia Lane footpath 2:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 1 July 2014

Time of day: 11.25am

Location: Footpath between Therapia Lane and Endeavour Way, south London.

Description: Constant banging and noise of heavy machinery in operation all around, the wind stirs rubbish along the footpath, a van door slams, indistinct voices.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Therapia Lane stream 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 1 July 2014

Time of day: 11.15am

Location: Therapia Lane at junction with Beddington Lane, south London.

Description: Trickling of a small stream at the point where it disappears under the road, passing traffic on Beddington Lane.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Tramsheds industrial estate Coomber Way 1:55

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 1.35pm

Location: Coomber Way off Beddington Lane, south London.

Description: Loud noise of lorries and other traffic passing close by, a repetitive banging in the mid-distance, intermittent noise of metal being sawed.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Unnamed watercourse Beddington Corner 2:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 26 June 2014

Time of day: 11.34am

Location: Beddington Corner, south London.

Description: Trickling, rushing sounds from a culverted watercourse, distant traffic rumble in background, faint airplane drone, a train passes.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

The Wandle Church Paddock 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 5 August 2011

Time of day: 4.15pm

Location: Overgrown land accessed by a hole in a fence behind Church Paddock Court, Beddington.

Description: Stridulation of grasshoppers close by, faint rushing sound of the Wandle, a dog barks, distant traffic.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

The Wandle Beddington Park 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 5 August 2011

Time of day: 4pm

Location: On the footbridge spanning the lake in Beddington Park.

Description: Constant traffic in the distance, birdsong and calls of ducks, faint voices and laughter.

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.

The Wandle Grove Park 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 5 August 2011

Time of day: 3.25pm

Location: Carshalton Ponds, Grove Park.

Description: Loud traffic at junction of North Street and High Street, voices of adults and children in the park, flapping of birds' wings.

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.

The Wandle Wilderness Island 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 5 August 2011

Time of day: 3pm

Location: Wilderness Island nature reserve, Hackbridge.

Description: Quiet ambience with distant traffic and siren, hammering on a building site, faint birdsong, a light breeze stirs foliage.

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.

The Wandle Budge Lane 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 5 August 2011

Time of day: 2.30pm

Location: By Budge Lane, Hackbridge.

Description: The Wandle flows out of a narrow tunnel, banging and clattering noises from the Wandle Trading Estate nearby.

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.

The Wandle near Wates Way 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 21 May 2011

Time of day: 4pm

Location: By the river Wandle opposite Wates Way industrial estate, Mitcham Junction.

Description: Rush of water from a small tributary of the Wandle, birdsong, cooing of wood pigeon, distant traffic.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics and Fostex FR-2LE recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

River Wandle 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 22 April 2009

Time of day: 3pm

Location: A weir on the River Wandle north of Hackbridge Road.

Description: A continuous rushing noise as the Wandle jumps down in a wide glassy arc from a weir.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics. Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 2835 6551 1:00

Grid square: Carshalton, Hackbridge

Recording date: 22 April 2009

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: North end of the Wilderness Island nature reserve.

Description: Faint birdsong and crackles of twigs and leaves in the surrounding undergrowth. To the north, a continuous rushing sound from a weir on the River Wandle. A train passes along a railway viaduct to the south.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics. Edirol R09-HR 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.