Most of the tapes we’re digitising for Unlocking Our Sound Heritage are either oral histories and radio broadcasts, plus a bit of music – so it’s mostly people’s voices. But we also have some evocative soundscapes and sound effects in the collections. Here are some you are welcome to download and use as samples in your own work.
Emma Stott worked in a cotton mill. Here she describes the journey the raw cotton took around a mill:
You can listen to the sounds of many of these processes which were recorded at Helmshore Textile Museum in Lancashire by the North West Sound Archives – from mill hooters to engines to looms. They are all free to download as mp3 files from Soundcloud.
We recently digitised a haunting recording of a mill hooter from quarter-inch tape reel. Unfortunately we don’t know where or when it was recorded (SOUNDS/80 download):
In the same collection of industrial sound recordings are these recordings on cassette made at Bickershaw colliery in Leigh in 1991 and 1992, when the pit closed. Here’s the sound as miners travel down the shaft in No. 3 Pit (download):
This is the sound of miners riding a loco on their way to the coal face (download):
And these are the sounds of an old pump house at the pit bottom (download):
Lastly this is a sound recording of the miners coming back up No. 3 shaft, which was nearly 800 yards deep (download):
Here’s the sounds of birdsong, traffic and church bells in Alexandra Park recorded by Paul Graney in the 1970s:
Paul enjoyed recording soundscapes wherever he went. Here’s the sound of a fairground organ from around 1980:
Paul recorded lots of different market sounds on his travels. Here are some recordings of market traders doing their stuff:
Carpet shampoo / download
Market traders / download
Nylon socks / download
You can find many more sound effects which might be useful for music sampling at the BBC Sound Effects website.