Historical references to London's sounds

A database of several hundred historical descriptions and references to London's sounds. They're drawn mainly from primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries and statutes, as well as novels written around the times they depict.

11th to
16th to
18th Early
 General sounds of street and town   1 9 2 3 20 13 7
 Open-air markets     1   2 2    
 Road traffic         1 3    
 Communal living and confinement     1 1   2 3  
 River traffic and related sounds     5     2 3  
 Plague, war and disaster   1 6 2   2 4  
 Sound qualities of buildings     1          
 Sounds of crowds   1       1    

Period referred to: 8 February 1750

Sound category: Ambient > Plague, war and disaster

Title of work: Gentleman's Magazine

Type of publication: Periodical

Author: The Gentleman's Magazine

Year of publication: 1750

Page/volume number: February 1750

The London earthquake of 1750

Between 12 and 1 o'clock afternoon, an earthquake was felt through London and Westminster; the councellors in the court of king's bench and chancery in Westminster Hall were so alarm'd, that they expected the building to fall; and in the new buildings about Grosvenor Square people ran out of their houses, the chairs shaking, and the pewter rattling on the shelves; a slaughterhouse with a hayloft over it, was thrown down in Southwark, a chimney in Leadenhall-Street, and another in Billiter Square.

Period referred to: Mid 18th century

Sound category: Ambient > Plague, war and disaster

Title of work: Letters

Type of publication: Private correspondence

Author: Horace Walpole

Year of publication: 1750

Page/volume number: Not known

Horace Walpole and the London earthquake of 1750

I felt my bolster lift up my head; I thought somebody was getting from under my bed, but soon found it was a strong earthquake, that lasted near half a minute, with a violent vibration and great roaring. I rang my bell; my servant came in, frightened out of his senses: in an instant we heard all the windows in the neighbourhood flung up. I got up and found people running into the streets, but saw no mischief done: there had been some; two old houses flung down, several chimneys, and much chinaware. The bells rung in several houses.