Historical references to London's sounds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
 Beggars, hustlers and scavengers   1 1 1   2 3 1
 Street entertainers             2  
 Costermongers and street traders   1   2 1 5 2  
 Transport for hire   1 1          
 Quack doctors       1        
 Recruitment of workers     1     1    
 Work songs and music             1  
 Workplace cries and audible signals       1 1 2 3  
 Shops and shop staff         1   3  

Period referred to: 1829

Sound category: Economic > workplace cries and signals

Title of work: Morning Post

Type of publication: Newspaper

Author: A Constant Reader

Year of publication: 1829

Page/volume number: 14 August 1829, page 2

A complaint about dustmen’s bells

SIR - The intolerable nuisance of the horn-boys hawking newspapers having been very properly, and to the great relief of the public, put down by Act of Parliament, allow me through the medium of your impartial Paper (whose columns are always open to the reception of any information having for its object the advantage of the community at large), to suggest the abolition of another nuisance, equal to if not greater than that to which I have alluded - I mean the Dustmen's Bells, which are perpetually dinning in one's ears from morning till night. Having recently, Mr. Editor, been an invalid, and confined to my room, I can speak from my own experience of the intolerable nuisance of which I complain - nor can I see the shadow of a reason why its continuance should be permitted. Why should not a stated time be fixed for the operations of these detestable Dustmen?

[From Bentley's Miscellany of 1841, article on bells by Hal Willis: The dustman's bell is, perhaps, the only one among the bell-fry that is discordant to our ears. There is an abrupt coarseness - a harsh clamorousness - in the expression of its large, lolling tongue, that affrights us from our morning dreams. There is as much difference in its "ring" as there is between the "wedding-ring" and the "ring pugilistic."]