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140 Years of Recorded Sound

October 6, 2017 - March 11, 2018


Just how important have the sounds of the past 140 years been to our lives? Dive into the British Library sound archive in our free exhibition looking at the significance of sound since the phonograph was invented in 1877.

Step into your own listening booth to hear an eclectic mix of sounds from the archive including many rare and unpublished recordings. See a signed disc of James Joyce’s reading of Ulysses alongside a complete set of playable stamps issued in Bhutan. And meet 16-year-old Alfred Taylor, whose ‘Wireless Log’ in 1922 can be compared to a modern-day vlog.
When & where
Friday October 6, 2017 - Sunday March 11, 2018
Entrance Hall, The British Library, 96 Euston Road

Free admission
View items from our rarely-seen collection of players and recorders. Immerse yourself in our specially-commissioned audio installation by composer Aleks Kolkowski. And follow our timeline to learn more about key moments in the history of recorded sound.

Human. Machine. Animal. We tell a story of sound recording and explore the importance of sound in capturing history, how radio transformed society in the 20th century and how the way we listen has changed as new technologies have emerged and old ones become obselete.


For more info,
click here!




October 6, 2017
March 11
Event Category:


British Library
96 Euston Rd
London, NW1 2DB United Kingdom
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+44 330 333 1144