Ian Rawes, who lives and works in London, is an urban field recorder and the founder of The London Sound Survey, which he runs full time.

Rawes has had a varied and interesting career to date. He has spent most of his life in London working as a printer, book designer, market stallholder, concert promoter and sound archivist.

Ian gives regular talks and interviews about The London Sound Survey

Rawes’ interest in sounds of the city was sparked while working in the sound archives at the British Library. He was introduced to tapes made by amateurs and enthusiasts, from recordings of birdsong to one man’s collection of the sound of every bus journey in Yorkshire. Ian’s first recording was of the sounds of an average day at a noisy clothes market in Petticoat Lane on the edge of London’s East End. Listening to the recordings he was taken aback by the novelty of bringing the sounds of the outdoors inside.

He carried on making recordings of life in London and a year later launched a website to house them. The London Sound Survey now contains over 2,000 recordings.

Fun Fact

Why focus on sounds? “It pulls you into a sense of place more effectively than a photograph does,” he says, and audio can be better at “conveying subtle emotions that are hard to put into words.”

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BMH #3, Flute busking in Blackfriars, Collection 3 #43, Collection 3 #46, Collection 3 #10, Collection 3 #16, Collection 3 #22, Collection 3 #28, Collection 3 #34, Collection 3 #4, Collection 1 #13, Collection 1 #16, Collection 1 #23