Audio Anthology – London Voices and Sound

Since 2018, the Unlocking our Sound Heritage (UOSH) project at London Metropolitan Archives has been digitising a selection of sound archives from across the capital. These include oral history, world music and the performing arts. To date we have preserved over 6,000 recordings, making the job of creating this 30 minute compilation … a challenge.

How did we do it? Well, we asked members of the project team and our wonderful volunteers to select and introduce their favourite.

We had a fantastic time pulling it together, below you will find the tracklist:

Intro
Track 1 – Wheelchair Ballroom Dancers, The Ealing Saints | Brent in Sound
Track 2 – Poetry by Merle Collins | Bogle-L’Ouverture
Track 3 – Memories of WWII rationing with Christa Gulliver | Southern Housing Group
Track 4 – Creating Music in Class | Inner London Education Authority
Track 5 – Interview with Charles Esche | Audio Arts
Track 6 – Memories of Petticoat Lane Market with Hyam Gilbert | Interviews with Hackney Residents Track 7 – Community life with Joan Foster | Five Women
Track 8 – The childhood memories of Muhammed Asif | Muslim Communities Project
Outro

Thank you in particular to our volunteers for their contributions – Sophia, Richard, Tim and Gosia.

Learn more about our work via the website – https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/history-and-heritage/london-metropolitan-archives/about-lma/unlocking-our-sound-heritage

Sound Sunday: Clapton Youth Centre in Grenada

Radio Free Grenada QSL card, including address and logo.

As we’re coming into the final year of Unlocking Our Sound Heritage at LMA, over the next few months we’ll be sharing highlights from the collections we’ve digitised and catalogued (so far!) on #SoundSundays

Photograph of cassette tape with card insert, containing handwritten information about the contents of the tape.
Cassette tape LMA/4550/03/02/05/001 (Unlocking Our Sound Heritage reference ULMA009/1)

The UOSH team are the London hub for the project, but not everything we digitise was recorded here in the big smoke. This week our #SundaySound is a recording of Radio Free Grenada from August 1980. But how did it end up in our studio?

The recording was made by Jean Tate, tutor warden of Clapton Youth Centre, an Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) funded youth centre based in Hackney. Under the leadership of Tate and Anslem Samuels, the Centre was strongly committed to anti-racist action and education.

Poster for the Clapton Youth Centre 'Open Evening', including address and featured artists and activities.
Clapton Youth Centre ‘Open Evening’ poster (LMA/4550/03/01/002)

In 1980 Clapton Youth Centre became the first of three youth groups from London to visit Grenada, which had been taken over by the People’s Revolutionary Government the previous year. Other recordings from the trip include a conversation with Leon Cornwall, chair of the National Youth Organisation (NYO), and an ‘Ah Caramba!’ dance show.

Radio Grenada was one of the first institutions taken over during the ‘People’s Revolution’, and the renamed Radio Free Grenada became a vital channel of communication across the islands. In between music, broadcasters discussed the political situation and put out announcements about what was going on in the community – as heard in the clip below.

While touring around the island, the group from Clapton Youth Centre stayed in a cottage in Morne Rouge, near the Radio Free Grenada studios. In a scrapbook compiled during the trip, Tate noted that she visited the ‘heavily guarded studios’ – and that the most played record on the station was Bob Marley’s ‘Uprising’.

Cropped photograph of Jean Tate's scrapbook from the 1980 trip to Grenada. Features handwritten notes about meeting members of the militia and pressed hibiscus flower.
Jean Tate’s scrapbook from the trip (LMA/4550/03/02/04/009)

The Radio Free Grenada studios Рand their tapes Рwere destroyed by American forces in October 1983. In this cassette, then, we have a slice of history Рthanks to Jean Tate and Clapton Youth Centre (who you can just about hear in the background, if you listen carefully…)

Find out more about the collection on LMA’s catalogue (ref LMA/4550) and the British Library’s Sound and Moving Image catalogue.

If you went on the trip, we’d love to hear from you!