The Sound of an Angry Seagull

The National Trust has embarked on a quest to create the UK’s first coastal sound map, and they are looking for your help to capture coastal sounds as part of their “Sounds of our Shores” project – you can contribute at the Audioboom website. Here’s what they chaps at Audioboom have to say:

What does the UK coastline sound like during the summer of 2015? What are the distinctive sounds of Scottish estuaries, Cornish beaches, the Pembrokeshire coast or a busy seafront? In what ways do these sounds fascinate us, move us or seem important to us?

Sounds of our Shores is a community-led, interactive soundmap which asks members of the public to upload their favourite seaside sounds and help build a permanent digital resource of UK coastal recordings.

This coastal soundmap project, organised by the British Library, the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland and audioBoom Ltd, co-incides with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust Neptune Coastline Campaign. Launched in May 1965 the Trust now owns 775 miles of in England, Wales and Northern Ireland Including the White Cliffs of Dover, much of Gower in south Wales and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Sounds of our Shores is about the whole coastline of the UK. It could be the sounds of a seabird colony, the sounds of a popular seaside resort or the sounds of one of our busy ports. We want to gather as many sounds as possible to reflect the diversity of the coastline and the important role that it plays in our lives.

A quick straw poll at Calrec reveals that many people here have some very clear auditory memories of seaside trips, especially as children. Squawking seagulls stealing chips from pensioners, the ice cream van music (which my Dad said meant they had run out of ice-cream), the slot machines, the dangerous rides on the Pier, that terrifying laughing clown

We’ve written about Soundmap projects like this before. They are all about drawing attention to that component of sensory memory specific to auditory information, and are almost always inclusive to the general public. This is of course a good thing, but more importantly initiatives like this are important to safeguard our national heritage – as the Guardian opined in an article earlier this year, “The experience of listening to (sounds) is as close to time travel as we’ve ever come. From the rare or iconic to the ephemeral and everyday, recordings give a living picture of the world changing around us.”

This is our personal favourite so far: the Boscombe Pier Chimes, 88 chimes which play ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ when struck in the right order!

24/06/15