A man stands in the doorway of a barber shop, looking down the street to his right as a man walks past. The sign above the shop says: Turkish Barber Shop
Turkish Barber Shop, 7 Hales Street, Coventry © Historic England Archive. DP248439. Photographed by James O Davies July 2019
Turkish Barber Shop, 7 Hales Street, Coventry © Historic England Archive. DP248439. Photographed by James O Davies July 2019

High Street Sound Walks

Historic England is working with the National Trust and Sound UK to launch a series of sound walks in six high streets across England during Heritage Open Days, from 10-19 September 2021.

Six journeys of discovery

Each sound walk will be a distinctive, immersive soundscape to take listeners on a journey of discovery. The walks will bring hidden histories and stories to life, helping people to see their high street in a new light.

Listeners will take a self-guided route, supported by an illustrated map created by artists for each place. The walks will encourage people to slow down, pause and reflect, and experience their environment in a new way. 

Sound artists will work with communities to collect stories so that each sound walk is informed by and represents authentic local voices and experiences. These works will connect listeners with the people, past and present, who have made their high street what it is today, transforming the everyday into something magical. 

The six sound walks will be launched as part of Heritage Open Days and available here and in accessible formats. 

Redruth

Anna Maria Murphy, Sue Hill and Ciaran Clarke will explore layers of time to unlock the fascinating strata of sound, voice and story within Redruth high street. Their sound walk will represent the broad spectrum of people and experience of the town.

Produced in association with Carn to Cove.

Reading

Aundre Goddard and Richard Bentley will combine music, audio drama and outdoor museum spaces. At its heart is London Street’s community, and its narrative will be interwoven throughout the piece. Listeners will be taken on a dream-like journey through time.

Produced in association with CultureMix, Readipop and Reading Borough Council.

Barrow-in-Furness

Dan Fox will embrace the diversity of people in Barrow. He will explore the changes it has witnessed such as when Barrow’s high street had 12,000 ship workers descend on it at lunchtime.

Listeners will explore the landmarks of work and play on the high street including iconic shops, businesses and the clubs of Cornwallis Street, alongside civic events like cycle races, and the centenary of the town hall.

Produced in association with Full of Noises.   

Hull

Jez Riley French will explore the positive sub-culture histories of Whitefriargate within living memory. This will include the hidden histories now often pushed to the city's outskirts; the hopes and dreams of independent shop owners, landmarks connected to the LGBTQ communities, the musical hub around Hepworth Arcade, reflecting on sense of identity and belonging.

Through microphones, Jez will also uncover the hidden sounds of the environment, including the invisible mesh of electronic signals and urban wildlife on the high street.

Produced in association with Absolutely Cultured.

Great Yarmouth

Oliver Payne aims to capture the charm of enigmatic, contrasting and diverse Great Yarmouth. Creating an authentic portrait of the street, from stories of local people who have witnessed its changes or studied its rich history, alongside those who have recently made it their home or are not yet settled.

These narratives are reflected in the sounds of the place itself, through the gentle resonance of a medieval row, to the loud and vibrant music heard outside a barbershop.

Produced in association with original projects and Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Grantham

Sandra Kazlaukaite will incorporate a collage of oral histories, archives and local residents’ memories to tell a story about the histories of Grantham high street. It will explore how this space of socialising and cultural exchange has transformed over time and will question what has been forgotten during the process of change.

Through conversations with residents and historical research, the walk will amplify the hidden, buried, the wonderful, and the imagined - the local historical heritage that has and continues to serve as a (silent) symphony accompanying the sounds of the present.

Produced in association with Emilie Nunn and South Kesteven District Council.

High Street Sound Walks is a commission by Historic England, National Trust and Heritage Open Days with support from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and produced by Sound UK. It is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme, led by Historic England.

Sound Walks is an exciting build on our previous work with artists. We’re thrilled to be working with Historic England with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery to bring the diverse, fascinating stories of our local high streets to life through work with local people and skilled artists.

Annie Reilly, Experience Development Manager National Trust

Partners

HM Government
National Lottery
Arts Council
Logo including text: "In partnership with National Trust"
Logo including text: "heritage open days"
Logo including text: 
"Supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery"
"Awarded funds from Postcode Earth Trust"
Sound UK
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