You Are Hear

The Essex Sound and Video Archive at the Essex Record Office has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run our project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place. The project will digitise and catalogue some of the audio and video recordings held in the Archive, and then help people learn about them, engage with them, and enjoy them. Over the next three years, we will be taking our recordings into every corner of Essex, helping people develop their sense of place by increasing their appreciation for the sounds of the county, past and present.

Want to know more? Sign up to receive updates on the project; read all our blog posts; or get in touch with Sarah-Joy Maddeaux, You Are Hear Project Officer: 033301 32467 or sarahjoy.maddeaux[@]


Audio Comparison Map

What does Essex sound like? Listen to past and present sounds of Essex on our Essex Sounds audio map. Why not record the sounds of your own community to share with us? Or get in touch with suggestions of soundscapes to capture. Find out more about the map here.

The map is now available as an app! Download a trial version from the Google Play store or the Apple app store and let us know what you think. With the app, you can download all the content so you can listen to the recordings while on the road exploring the county.


Kiosk and Listening Bench Tours

Find the audio-video kiosk or listening bench nearest to you! Contact us for more information.

The listening benches are installed at:

  • Finchingfield Guildhall (touring bench – final host)
  • Weald Country Park (touring bench – final host)
  • Westlake Park, Bowers Gifford, Basildon
  • West Quay, Burnham-on-Crouch
  • St Nicholas churchyard, Castle Hedingham
  • The Meadows, Backnang Square, Chelmsford
  • West Cliff Theatre, Tower Road, Clacton-on-Sea
  • Blacksmith’s Corner, Clavering
  • Doubleday Corner, Coggeshall
  • Castle Park, Colchester
  • St John the Baptist churchyard, St John’s Road, Epping
  • Galleywood Heritage Centre, Galleywood
  • Town square, Great Dunmow
  • Banbury Square, Great Waltham
  • Harlow Museum and Walled Gardens
  • St Helen’s Green, Harwich
  • Packhorse Bridge, Kelvedon
  • Museum grounds, Saffron Walden
  • The Pier, Southend-on-Sea
  • Maldon Road Park, Witham

The audio-video kiosks are at Cater Museum, Billericay and Rayleigh Town Museum (until the end of June). Listen to memories of these areas, and find out how much life has changed in the last hundred years.

You can check full installation and tour dates here.



More Volunteers Required

We are looking for volunteers from eighteen different communities to help with their listening bench. Volunteers listen to recordings from our archive relating to their community; select a series of clips; and put them together in a sound montage. The montage is then played on a listening bench installed in their community, to allow visitors and residents to enjoy them while relaxing on the bench. Though we now have audio prepared for all eighteen benches, we need more volunteers to keep updating the audio on the benches.

Please get in touch if you think you could help.


Contacting Interviewees

We are still trying to obtain permission to use some of the recordings in our collection, particularly oral history interviews. If you or someone you know has been interviewed about life in Essex, we might well have a copy of the recording. We are targeting individuals from certain locations, listed here. Do you recognise any names?


Developing a Sense of Place

You Are Hear is not the only project that is looking at the impact of sound on perceptions of place. Our project team is keeping an eye on similar projects and putting them together for your enjoyment here.

Forget Harry Potter, the thing you really want to see at the British Library is their Sound Archive exhibition: Listen: 140 Years of Recorded Sound. See some examples of recording technology over the years; listen to some of the marvellous recordings in their archive; and delve into the world of Alfred Taylor and his 1922 wireless log (spot the Essex connection). No need to book, and it’s all free!

April 2018

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