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Spitalfields Speaks

June 23, 2012
by the gentle author

Today is the Spitalfields Music Midsummer Street Party and I am publishing these excerpts from Spitalfields Speaks - recordings of three people from Spitalfields Life by sound artist Duncan Chapman. At the party this afternoon, there will be a ‘Spitalfields Speaks Hut’ in Market St where you can record your own contribution to a collaborative sound-art piece to be performed at The Waterpoet at 4pm, or pick up headphones to listen while exploring the neighbourhood.

Can sounds become extinct? Can a house have a life of its own? Welcome to Rodney Archer’s eighteenth century house on Fournier St where he has lived since 1980. Rodney invites you to listen to the sounds that characterise it – the creaky stairs, the humming of the gas lights, the trickling water of the fountain…  Click here to listen to the sound of Rodney’s bell.

Click here to listen to the sound of Rodney’s creaking door.

Click here to listen to the sound of Rodney’s gaslights.

Click here to listen to the sound of the fountain in Rodney’s garden.

Marge Hewson has been the nursery nurse at Christ Church Primary School on Brick Lane since 1971. Every morning for the past forty-one years, she has collected schoolchildren from their homes on the Chicksand Estate and delivered them safely to school. Click here to listen to part one.

Join Marge on her daily journey – although it does not even cover a mile in distance, it covers a lifetime of stories and memories for Marge and the generations of schoolchildren who have joined her. Click here to listen to part two.

A former sea captain in the Merchant Navy and now a Justice of the Peace, Captain Shiv Banerjee takes you on a voyage from India to the East End, dropping anchor at various ports en route.  Click here to listen to part one.

Shiv Banerjee talks about his life at Toynbee Hall in Spitalfields, where he arrived in 1975 and has lived ever since.  Click here to listen to part two.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. June 23, 2012

    What a wonderful post! I love the sounds of the house, the door sounds just like a saxophone. It felt like really being inside the house. I think when we preserve old buildings, we should also think about preserving the way they sound… Loved Captain Banerjee’s story too!

  2. June 23, 2012

    Love the sounds and thanks also for the Captain’s story

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