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 bench in Castle Park, Colchester now features new audio! Visit to hear memories of local characters Marmalade Emma and Teddy Grimes.

Our next listening bench launch will be at Harlow Museum, 16 September 2017, from 2:00pm. For full details, see our Events Page.

Benches are currently installed at:

  • Waltham Abbey Gardens (touring bench)
  • Great Notley Country Park (touring bench)
  • Westlake Park, Bowers Gifford, Basildon
  • 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
  • Galleywood Heritage Centre, Galleywood
  • Town square, Great Dunmow
  • Banbury Square, Great Waltham
  • St Helen’s Green, Harwich
  • Packhorse Bridge, Kelvedon
  • Museum grounds, Saffron Walden
  • The Pier, Southend-on-Sea

The audio-video kiosks are at Hadleigh Old Fire Station (until the end of September) and the Wivenhoe Chapel Museum (until the end of July).

You can check full installation and tour dates here.



More Community Groups Required

We are looking for volunteers from ten different communities to adopt a sonic park bench. Volunteers will 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 will then be played on a sonic bench installed in their communities, to allow visitors and residents to enjoy them while relaxing on the bench. To match the locations to our audio collections, we are looking for volunteers from:

  • Burnham-on-Crouch
  • Witham

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.

We are delighted to announce that the British Library has received funding to proceed with Unlocking our Sound Heritage, part of their Save Our Sounds programme. This will enable the creation of ten sound preservation centres across the country. Each will be fully equipped to tackle some of the thousands of archive sound recordings in urgent need of preservation. Read the full press release about the project.

August 2017

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