Welcome to the London Sound Survey, a growing collection of Creative Commons-licensed sound recordings of places, events and wildlife in the capital. Historical references too are gathered to find out how London's sounds have changed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recordings from around London by blind recordist and musician Andre Louis. Featuring sounds from Kilburn, Notting Hill, the West End and elsewhere.
The start of a new series of sound maps in which the areas are anonymised and the only geographical information shown is walking distances in minutes between recording points.
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.
A page with a brief explanation of the objectives of the London Sound Survey, a description of the licensing conditions applying to the site's recordings and other materials, and email contact details.
An older wildlife site section mainly consisting of birdsong recordings made by Stuart Fisher in parts of south and east London. There are also some recordings by Ian Rawes of dawn choruses and bat sonar.
A collection of descriptions and references to sounds drawn mainly from primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries and statutes, as well as novels written around the times they depict. The earliest accounts date from the 11th century.
The sounds of 1930s and 1940s London from old BBC radio broadcasts, digitised for the first time from their original 78 rpm transcription discs. Featuring street entertainers, auctioneers, fortune tellers and much more. Reproduced by kind permission of BBC Worldwide. This section will likely be the last to be converted to a text-only format because direct links to the sound files cannot be used. Some form of embedded and accessible media player will be needed instead.
Text-only versions are to follow for the site's blog pages, and for a page listing several makes of microphone which can be worn in the ears or otherwise attached to each side of the head, a technique often termed 'binaural recording'.
The London Map combines many of the recordings from the Sound Maps and Sound Actions sections into a single interface. Historical map layers, including First Series Ordnance Survey and Booth's Poverty Map, give a background to the modern-day sounds of London. The section includes around 600 map images, graphically-driven forms of user interaction, but relatively little text.
The London Sound Survey strongly supports the cause of recycling, and so the historical maps which have been cut up and used in the All-in-one London Map are here put back together. They're presented as a small number of very large images which site visitors can zoom into and inspect.
"Perhaps the most ambitious and comprehensive approach to sound mapping I've yet to see. An all-around wonderful site!" Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute.
"An excellent and deep site." John Ptak, Ptak Science Books.
"It's the quality of these stereo recordings that gives it the edge." Transpontine blog.
"The warmth of something well-made. There is so much to hear and consider." The Domestic Soundscape website.
"A beautifully crafted labour of love." Londonist website.
Steel pan busker Holloway Road. Description: A man busks by playing a shallow steel pan at a bus stop on Holloway Road. Added on: 01 January 2018.
Street preacher Uxbridge. Description: A street preacher holds forth through a small PA as he paces about outside Uxbridge tube station. Added on: 01 January 2018.
Christian singers Kings Cross. Description: A group of Christian men sing in a call-and-response style in front of Kings Cross station. Added on: 01 January 2018.
The watchman had gradually been transformed from a sturdy constable in harness into a venerable personage bearing halberd and lanthorn. It was the business of this reverend person to make the cry inscribed under the figure of the watchman here given. He had to deal with deaf listeners, and he therefore proclaimed with a voice of command, “Lanthorn!” But a lanthorn alone was a body without a soul; and he therefore demanded “a whole candle.” To this the vital spark was to be given, and he continued to exclaim, “light.” To render the mandate less individually oppressive, he went on to cry, “Hang out your lights!” And that even the sleepers might sleep no more, he ended with “Hear!”
When: 15th century. Author: Charles Knight. Added on: 03 April 2018.
That concludes the London Sound Survey home page.
The London Sound Survey 2015. A Creative Commons Licence applies to all site content except where stated otherwise.