I’ve made an astonishing discovery today – the London Sound Survey website.
This site gathers together all kinds of sounds heard on the streets of London, both natural and man-made, from the earliest days of sound recording all the way up to the present. Sound files are organised by category, and you can also search for them using several ingenious London maps – the one that I particularly like is sorted into daytime sounds and night-time sounds, with an additional section for London’s waterways.
Amongst the urban sounds you can hear a busy tube station’s ticket hall, poke your head around the door of an amusement arcade and hear the machines plinking and popping, eavesdrop on the patter of a market trader or even listen to a rather tense late-night disagreement in Croydon’s town centre. Stepping away from the busy streets there are also examples of delightful birdsong, all neatly organised by species, the murmur of gently lapping water and the distant drone of aircraft. I’m sure that I’m not alone in finding the sounds of London’s streets quite comforting, particularly late at night – I regularly fall asleep to the gentle hum of the cars speeding along the main road a few streets away. In contrast I find the total absence of sound in the countryside absolutely deafening – isn’t it odd what you can get used to!
I’m really glad I found the London Sound Survey website and I’m sure you will be too. Why not delve into it and see what you can find – you might be surprised at some of the strange treasures that are just waiting there to be unearthed. For regular updates, see the site’s blog and you can also follow the author on Twitter…