Historical references to London's sounds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: 1920s

Sound category: Social > Gambling

Title of work: The Water Gipsies

Type of publication: Novel

Author: A. P. Herbert

Year of publication: 1930

Page/volume number: Chapter 7

Bookmakers at the Epsom races in the 1920s

They gazed in silence at the historic scene, the classic lunacy of the English race. The bookmakers snarled like animals in the rain; the caped policemen stood glistening in the rain, like rows of wet seals; the merry-go-rounds swung round merrily in the rain, and from across the dip came the blare of their wild, pathetic music [. . .]

They walked along the line of yelling bookmakers, the girls pointing and exclaiming as if the worthy gentlemen had been so many monsters in the Zoo [. . .] The happy Fred chose Bill Oates, of Wandsworth, a fatherly gentleman in a pink top-hat. He had white whiskers, a pale blue sash, a scarlet banner, and a smile which spelt goodness and loving-kindness, and in hoarse tones he constantly repeated that he was the 'Old Firm' and must not be deserted. Jane felt that it was a good action to be with this frail and deserving old man.

"Come along lady! Bless your pretty eyes! What's your fancy, lady? Lemonora? Thirty-three to one, Lemonora. Five shillings each way, Lemonora, thank you, lady. The Old Firm, the Old Firm, don't desert the Old Firm!"