Historical references to London's sounds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
 Demonstrations     2 1 1   1  
 Elections and election campaigns     1          
 Meetings and indoor gatherings       1   2    
 Public political oratory   2       1 1  
 Strikes and trade union activities     1       1  
 Political, sectarian and ethnic conflict   1   1     1  

Period referred to: 1660s

Sound category: Political > Labour disputes

Title of work: The Diary of Samuel Pepys

Type of publication: Diary

Author: Samuel Pepys

Year of publication: 1666

Page/volume number: 19 December 1666

Samuel Pepys witnesses a seamen’s protest over pay

Thence home, and upon Tower Hill saw about 3 or 400 seamen get together; and one, standing upon a pile of bricks, made his sign, with his handkercher, upon his stick, and called all the rest to him, and several shouts they gave. This made me afeard; so I got home as fast as I could.

Period referred to: 1930s

Sound category: Political > Strikes and trade union activities

Title of work: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Type of publication: Autobiography

Author: Laurie Lee

Year of publication: 1969

Page/volume number: Chapter 2: London

Laurie Lee goes on strike with his fellow labourers

We massed in the open outside the manager's office, our tempers suddenly transformed – over five hundred men huddled in the raw cold wind, waiting for our ranks to throw up a leader. At first we were lost; sporadic meetings broke out, voices shouted against each other. 'Brothers! – Comrades! – We got to stand solid on this – Chuck 'em out – Put our demands to the bosses.' The loaded phrases touched off little bush-fires of anger which flickered across the crowd, then died. [. . .]

Just then a tall stoop-backed labourer pushed his way to the front and climbed up on to a pile of timber, and as soon as he turned to address us we knew that he'd do, and that the vacuum was filled.

[. . .]

He spoke briefly, with savage almost contemptuous dignity, and the other gabblers round the ground fell silent. With a few iron words he raised the level of our grievance to the heights of cosmic revolution. We had been vague and wavering; now we had no doubts.