Historical references to London's sounds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
 Pub life, music and song   1 3     1 5 3
 City-wide celebrations     3 2   3 3  
 Toasts, dinners and feasts     2 1       1
 Theatre and cinema audiences     2 1 1 1    
 Music and song in theatres     2 2   2    
 Public music and song outdoors     3   1 4    
 Education: Oratory and debate   1            
 Gambling and fairs     1 1 1 2 1  
 Sporting events   1 1 1 1      
 Families at leisure             1  
 Dancing             1  
 Local celebrations           1   1

Period referred to: 1896

Sound category: Social > Local celebrations

Title of work: Illustrated Police News

Type of publication: Newspaper

Author: Illustrated Police News

Year of publication: 1896

Page/volume number: 11 July 1896

The noise of a donkey parade in Herne Hill

The uninitiated who were in the neighbourhood of the athletic grounds at Herne Hill last week might well be excused for imagining that they had unwittingly wandered into the vicinity of a large and flourishing menagerie. Even at the railway station could be heard the faint rumble of unearthly sound, and as one came near the grounds this rumble changed to a higher key, and, blended but not harmonised, rose a most appalling series of shrieks and groans, punctuated at intervals by what sounds like fiendish laughter. On passing the gates, however, the mystery was dispelled. In the centre of the railed-off ground, round which the bicycle track runs, were donkeys, not one or two, but a score or more, and as their proud owners led them round they jumped and plunged, and then, finding all attempts to get away were useless, they tried to imitate the language that their masters use occasionally, and this was the cause of all the disturbance. The costers, as they led their charges round, talked to them gently, and when they found that this unaccustomed method of treatment was no good, they did not hit them, but reserved their energies for suitable repartee to their friends who, from outside the barriers, kept up a flow of scathing remarks, which were of a more or less personal nature.