Tuesday 18 March 2014 – Ian Rawes – ‘Seen and not heard’: the struggle for control over London’s street sounds

Ian Rawes (British Library)

Venue: Athlone Room (102), 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet Street (or live online at Live Stream)

Time: Tuesday 18 March 2014, 5.15 PM (GMT)

Abstract: Up until the early 1800s London’s raucous soundscape was popularly described as emblematic of the liberty and vigour of its inhabitants. Over a hundred years later, the last lavender sellers were banned from raising their sales cries by the Metropolitan Police and John Betjeman was reminiscing on the radio about a vanished world of London sounds. In this talk, Ian Rawes will examine the reasons for these changes using sources including early field recordings, borough medical officers’ reports, road surface maps, and a century’s worth of noise complaints in the Times newspaper.

Ian Rawes works for the British Library’s Listening and Viewing Service. In his spare time he runs the London Sound Survey, an online collection of present-day and archival field recordings of the capital.

Image: The pedlar of Lambeth and his dog as drawn in 1786 for Ducarel’s “History of  Lambeth” (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21852/21852-h/21852-h.htm)

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