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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.

Manor Park cemetery 1:30

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 September 2015

Time of day: 3.35pm

Location: Middle of Manor Park cemetery, east London.

Description: Faint traffic and cawing of crows, other bird calls, a train passes in the distance, 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.

Greenleaf Road E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 1.35pm

Location: Halfway along Greenleaf Road, east London.

Description: Men's voices, sounds of building work inside a house immediately opposite the recording point, noise of a pressure washer cleaning a van in a garage, airplane drone.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

William Morley Close E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 1.45pm

Location: Pathway between the backs of houses in William Morley Close, east London.

Description: Children's voices in mid-distance, birdsong, airplane drone, banging sounds and adults' voices from the back of a house, distant traffic, a door slams.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Victoria Avenue E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 1.55pm

Location: East end of Victoria Avenue, east London.

Description: Distant traffic, footsteps, a crow caws, men's voices in the street, a train passes in the distance, faint birdsong, a car passes.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Spencer Road E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.05pm

Location: Halfway along Spencer Road, east London.

Description: Airplane drone, a car passes, faint voices and birdsong, a woodpigeon coos, distant traffic, footsteps heard briefly.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Grangewood Street E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.10pm

Location: Grangewood Street near junction with Grosvenor Road, east London.

Description: Airplane drone, voices of children in a playground, passing traffic, a car engine idles, the wind stirs foliage, indistinct music.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Seldson Road E13 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.25pm

Location: Selsdon Road a short distance north of junction with Walton Road, east London.

Description: Shuffling footsteps, distant traffic, a car approaches and comes to a halt before disgorging a woman whose voice is heard briefly, music from another passing car, brief birdsong.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Castle Street E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.35pm

Location: Castle Street, east London.

Description: Loud noise of an aircon unit or fume extractor, constant traffic on Green Street, doors slam, a car drives past before returning the other way and letting two passengers out.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cleves Road E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.45pm

Location: North end of Cleves Road, east London.

Description: Distant traffic, faint birdsong, airplane drone, footsteps of a passerby, a man coughs, a child's voice heard faintly, clattering of dishes from a nearby flat.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Macaulay Road E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 2.55pm

Location: Midway along Macaulay Road, east London.

Description: Birdsong, distant traffic, a repeated banging sound in the street, voice of a passerby.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Compton Avenue E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 3.10pm

Location: Compton Avenue near junction with Central Park Road, east London.

Description: Airplane drone, traffic on Compton Avenue and Central Park Road, faint sounds of building work in mid-distance, footsteps of a passerby, music from a passing car.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Benson Avenue E6 June 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 5 June 2015

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: Benson Avenue near junction with Wilson Road, east London.

Description: Voices and footsteps of passersby, constant traffic in distance, a child runs along the pavement, a car passes, a car door slams and the motor starts, intermittent 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.

Outside Stratford International station 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: % February 2014

Time of day: 8pm

Location: Outside Stratford International train station by the Westfield shopping centre, east London.

Description: Footsteps of people hurrying to and from the train station, distant traffic, occasional bangs from a metal door or hatch being opened.

Technical guff: Binaural stereo. OKM II Classuc Studio mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Priory Road E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: South end of Priory Road, Newham, east London.

Description: Constant traffic along Barking Road, an emergency services siren, occasional passers-by, a faint bell-like sound from somewhere, airplane drone, three boys ride their bikes along Priory Road, aiming for and squashing a cardboard box by the roadside.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hubert Road E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2.15pm

Location: Hubert Road south of Clacton Road, Newham, east London.

Description: Distant traffic, a constant machine noise in the mid-distance like that of an air compressor, faint birdsong, a family leave their house and get into a car.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Faint buzz in one channel due to faulty wiring in the mini-jack.

Geoffrey Gardens E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2.35pm

Location: Geoffrey Gardens near junction with Haldane Road, Newham, east London.

Description: Distant traffic, men's voices talking and laughing, birdsong, occasional cars passing along Haldane Road, a man walks past on the opposite side of the road.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Faint buzz in one channel due to faulty wiring in the mini-jack.

Clacton Road E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2pm

Location: Clacton Road by junction with Boundary Road, Newham, east London.

Description: Loud traffic passing close by along Boundary Road, continuous noise from a nearby fume extractor, aircraft drone, a woman's voice heard briefly at the end.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Beverley Road E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2.20pm

Location: Beverley Road near junction with Frinton Road, Newham, east London.

Description: Birdsong, distant traffic, a metallic clang in the mid-distance, hammering, aircraft drone, a man's indistinct voice.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Faint buzz in one channel due to faulty wiring in the mini-jack.

Cotswold Gardens E6 January 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 25 January 2014

Time of day: 2.40pm

Location: Cotswold Gardens, Newham, east London.

Description: Residential street with a woman's voice in the mid-distance, constant traffic in distance, faint sounds of activity in the street, a wood pigeon coos, helicopter drone growing louder towards the end.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Westfield Stratford shopping centre 2:23

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 29 December 2013

Time of day: 4.30pm

Location: Walking through the indoor part of Westfield Stratford shopping centre, east London.

Description: Clamorous indoor environment with voices and footsteps of many passing shoppers, an announcement is made over a PA system, recorded music broadcast throughout the shopping centre.

Technical guff: Binaural stereo. OKM II Classic Studio mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Redclyffe Road E6 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 1.40pm

Location: Redclyffe Road, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Constant sound of machinery from a garment factory close to the recording point, birdsong, occasional traffic.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Queens Market E13 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 1.15pm

Location: Queens Market, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Sounds inside the covered Queens Market, with voices of traders and market customers, recorded music from stalls, whine of a knife sharpener in a butchers.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Priory Park E6 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 1.55pm

Location: Middle of Priory Park, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Workmen in the park use powered equipment of some kind, a small group of women talk among themselves as they walk by, birdsong, aircraft drone towards the end.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Green Street E13 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 13 April 2013

Time of day: 1.15pm

Location: Pedestrianised square off Green Street, near junction with Walton Road, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Heavy traffic on Green Street, voices of passersby, a man talks on his mobile phone, rubbish blows along the ground, cooing of pigeons, a vehicle sounds its horn.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Florence Road E6 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 1.30pm

Location: Florence Road by junction with Kings Road, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Trains pass at speed along a nearby railway line, the wind blows a piece of rubbish along the ground, patter of rain drops, children's voices in the distance.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Boundary Road E13 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 13 April 2013

Time of day: 2.10pm

Location: Junction of Boundary Road, Barking Road and Green Street, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Heavy traffic passes through the junction, a large family talk among themselves as they go past, a metal cover set in the pavement clacks as people walk over it.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Barking Road E6 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 2.15pm

Location: Barking Road near junction with Boleyn Road, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Loud traffic passing along Barking Road, voices and footsteps of passersby, a power-tool is used intermittently on a nearby site, a bus slows, stops and carries on again.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Aragon Road E6 April 2:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 14 April 2013

Time of day: 2pm

Location: Aragon Road near junction with Cabot Way, Upton Park, east London.

Description: Birdsong in a residential street, distant traffic, a house door slams, footsteps, aircraft drone growing louder, faint patter of rain drops. swifts call overhead.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Channelsea River Greenway 1:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 6 June 2011

Time of day: 4pm

Location: The Channelsea river under the Greenway bridge, near West Ham.

Description: Traffic noise, cooing of pigeons beneath the bridge, constant dripping of water.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Channelsea River island 1:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 6 June 2011

Time of day: 3.45pm

Location: By the Channelsea River opposite a tiny island, near Bow.

Description: Constant rushing noise from airconditioning units in an industrial estate, birdsong, faint aircraft drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Channelsea River Prescott Channel 1:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 6 June 2011

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: By the confluence of the Channelsea River and the Prescott Channel, Bow.

Description: Faint birdsong, constant rushing sound of industrial origin, a train heads eastwards, cries of gulls.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Stratford shopping centre 1:50

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 7 May 2010

Time of day: 2.30pm

Location: Walking through the Stratford shopping centre, east London.

Description: Voices of shoppers, echoing more loudly in the centre's high-ceilinged hub towards the beginning, stallholders' voices, music from shop units.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EH mics and PA-3SX preamp, Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Trains passing Manor Park 2:12

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 31 October 2009

Time of day: 9.30am

Location: Near the City of London cemetery, Manor Park.

Description: Passing trains recorded from the alleyway between the railway and the City of London Cemetery at Manor Park. Some car noise and water rain dripping on leaves nearby.

Technical guff: Not known.

Recorded by: Stuart Fisher

Additional notes: None.

Queens Market argument 1:17

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 16 June 2007

Time of day: Not known

Location: The car park above Queens Market, West Ham.

Description: Two men get in an argument in the market car park, and exchange insults.

Technical guff: Binaural stereo. Soundman OKM mics, Marantz PMD-670 recorder.

Recorded by: Dave Pape

Additional notes: Find out more about Dave Pape's activities at Museum of Techno.

Queens Market 6:05

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 16 June 2007

Time of day: Not known

Location: Queens Market, West Ham.

Description: Ambience at Queens Market in West Ham, a covered market of stalls selling food and cheap non-perishables. Voices of traders, customers and children, stall shutters are pulled down, and some kind of electronic toy plays the tune to 'Old Macdonald' on a loop.

Technical guff: Binaural stereo. Soundman OKM mics, Marantz PMD-670 recorder.

Recorded by: Dave Pape

Additional notes: Find out more about Dave Pape's activities at Museum of Techno.

West Ham fox cubs 1:12

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 2/3/2009

Time of day: Not known

Location: West Ham cemetery, east London.

Description: "Two young foxes in a play fight in West Ham cemetery. I sneaked up behind a wall and recorded them for a while. I peered over the wall to discover they were only about four metres away [. . .] they were locked with paws on each other's shoulders screaming at each other." – Genghis Attenborough

Technical guff: High pass filter used to eliminate wind noise on recording.

Recorded by: Genghis Attenborough

Additional notes: Recorded by Freesound Project contributor Genghis Attenborough. License: Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0.

TQ 4023 8447 1:00

Grid square: Forest Gate, West Ham

Recording date: 17 February 2009

Time of day: 4.15pm

Location: OS reference TQ 4023 8447. West Ham Park.

Description: Distant traffic and aircraft drone, birdsong, a dog yaps, a group of youths talk among themselves after a game of football.

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.