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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.

Peregrine Road east IG6 June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 4.20pm

Location: Towards eastern end of Peregrine Road, Redbridge.

Description: Airplane drone, constant traffic on Romford Road, birdsong, two men talk on the other side of the road, occasional traffic on Peregrine Road, a woodpigeon coos, a regular electronic beep in the mid-distance.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hainault Country Park lake June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 4.05pm

Location: By the south side of the lake in the middle of Hainault Forest Country Park, Redbridge.

Description: Airplane drone, honking of geese, constant traffic in distance, faint sounds of geese foraging on a grassy verge nearby, birdsong, a duck quacks.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cabin Hill June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 3.40pm

Location: Footpath on Cabin Hill, Hainault Forest Country Park, Redbridge.

Description: Birdsong, airplane drone, the wind stirs foliage, occasional rustlings in nearby undergrowth, a light airplane flies overhead.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hainault Country Park centre June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 3.20pm

Location: Outside the visitor centre in Hainault Forest Country Park, Redbridge.

Description: Voices of adults and children playing football near the visitor centre, airplane drone, the wind stirs nearby foliage.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Dog Kennel Hill east June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 3.05pm

Location: Footpath on east side of Dog Kennel Hill, Redbridge.

Description: Faint traffic in distance, birdsong, airplane drone, very faint sounds from a nearby golf course, cry of a peacock.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Dog Kennel Hill west June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 2.55pm

Location: Footpath on the west side of Dog Kennel Hill, Redbridge.

Description: Constant traffic in distance, airplane drone, faint birdsong.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Five Oaks Lane IG7 June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 2.15pm

Location: Five Oaks Lane about 200 yards east of junction with Romford Road, Redbridge.

Description: Constant traffic on the Romford Road, the wind stirs nearby foliage, occasional bangs and other noises from a building site around 100 yards due south, airplane drone, men's voices heard very faintly.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Fowler Road IG6 June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 1.50pm

Location: Towards western end of Fowler Road, Redbridge.

Description: Frequent traffic passing close by, constant machine noise from a nearby industrial unit, occasional banging and hammering sounds.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Peregrine Road west IG6 June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 1.45pm

Location: West end of Peregrine Road, Redbridge.

Description: Distant traffic with an emergency services siren, airplane drone, birdsong, thumps and clattering sounds from outside a nearby house, children's voices in mid-distance, a lorry's brakes squeal, a car door slams, brief whine of a distant motorcycle.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Arrowsmith Road IG7 June 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 18 June 2015

Time of day: 1.30pm

Location: Arrowsmith Road immediately north of Manford Cross, Redbridge.

Description: Airplane drone, occasional traffic, sounds children's voices, a toy horn and xylophone or similar instrument in mid-distance, a car halts and doors slam, adults' indistinct voices.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Brocket Way East IG7 July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 2.45pm

Location: Easternmost end of Brocket Way, Redbridge, east London.

Description: Passing cars, more distant traffic on Romford Road, light aircraft drone, brief sound of a power-drill, faint voices in the mid-distance, a car parks nearby.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise present.

Hainault Forest Country Park July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: Three Forests Way footpath about one kilometer east of Romford Road, Redbridge, east London.

Description: Constant rumble of traffic in the distance, aircraft drone, the wind stirs foliage, faint birdsong, a fly buzzes.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Romford Road IG6 July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 3.05pm

Location: Opposite junction with New North Road, Redbridge, east London.

Description: Loud noise of traffic passing along Romford Road, stridulation of grasshoppers close by, a regular noise like that of the ground being struck by a metal implement.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Fowler Road IG6 July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 3.30pm

Location: Hainault Business Park, Redbridge, east London.

Description: Distant traffic on Romford Road, cries of a seagull, humming of machinery on the industrial estate, birdsong, a car revs its engine in the mid-distance.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Elmbridge Road IG6 July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 3.55pm

Location: Redbridge, east London.

Description: Aircraft drone, a child's voice, passing cars, more distant traffic, the wind rustles foliage.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Newcastle Avenue IG6 July 2:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 14 July 2013

Time of day: 4.05pm

Location: Redbridge, east London.

Description: Sounds of activity at a nearby building site, aircraft drone, birdsong, chatter of a magpie, faint voices.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

River Rom Collier Row 1:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 22 January 2012

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: Collier Row recreation ground.

Description: The Rom flows over a small weir, a woodpigeon coos, traffic passing along Collier Row Road immediately to the south, birdsong.

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.

River Rom Footpath No 19 1:00

Grid square: Hainault, Collier Row

Recording date: 22 January 2012

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: Footpath number 19 off White Hart Lane, Collier Row.

Description: Weak trickling of the Rom beneath a footbridge, the wind blows strongly above, faint traffic in distance.

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.

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.