You Are Hear: Final Update

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Here we are, at the end of the You Are Hear project. We just have time to look back at what we have done, and point you to what you can continue to enjoy in the months and years to come. Thank you for all your support; we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have.

The Sounds of Essex

We come back to the question we asked you right at the beginning of the project: what does Essex sound like? You came up with some brilliant suggestions (over 450 of them!), too many to capture, but all great for brainstorming. We captured natural noises, man-made noises; loud noises, quiet noises; joyful noises, angry noises, and put them next to historic recordings from the Archive. Does our Essex Sounds audio map reflect what your Essex sounds like?

Although we will not be adding many of our own sounds in future, you can continue to enjoy exploring the sounds we have published. Don’t forget that the site is also available as an app (free from Apple or Google stores), so you can listen to the recordings in the location where they were recorded. Even better, why not contribute your own?

Audio-Video Kiosks

Both of our previously touring audio-video kiosks are now well established in their new permanent homes: our Archive Access Points at Saffron Walden Library and at Harlow Museum. Plus the kiosk on the ground floor at the Essex Record Office is there to stay.

What recordings from the Archive will you discover? Maybe a BBC Essex ‘Pub of the Week’ clip from your local area; or a catchy folk song that will stay in your head for hours; or something more sober such as reminiscences from the 1953 floods that devastated the county. Explore and enjoy!

Listening Benches

And don’t forget about our listening benches, permanently installed in local communities. Some, such as the Clavering and Great Waltham benches (pictured), have new recordings, so they are worth a return visit. Our two touring benches have now come to rest also: one outside the Metal studios in Chalkwell Park, Southend and the other at Weald Country Park.

Can you get to all the benches this summer? Don’t forget to send us your #benchselfie at each bench!

Accessing Recordings

Our most enduring output from the project is our ability to incorporate digitised audio-video recordings directly into the catalogue entries on Essex Archives Online, so you can play the material whenever and wherever you want (Internet access permitting). You will need to create an account, but you will not need to pay any money to acess the recordings. Simply visit Essex Archives Online, change the ‘Refine your search’ box to ‘Audio Visual’, type in a word or place name that interests you, and away you go!

Close-up of bride and groom on wedding day. You can also browse our SoundCloud and YouTube channels. The archive tells the story of everyday Essex people and places. Does it resemble your own experiences?

If it doesn’t, we ought to change that! Do you know of any sound or video recordings that have been made in your community? Or perhaps you are planning a recording project? Please do get in touch using We are always looking for ways to ensure our collections represent the diversity of Essex culture.

What Now

We are very grateful for all the feedback, suggestions, assistance, and general support we have received over the course of this three-year project. Of course it would not have been possible without the funders – primarily the Heritage Lottery Fund, with match funding from the Essex Heritage Trust and the Friends of Historic Essex. But neither would it have been possible without all of the volunteers who put over 2400 hours of time into the project, particularly on putting together the audio for the listening benches. Thank you!

Now on to the next one? It will take us a little while to evaluate You Are Hear and regroup, but we will then be on the look-out for the next project opportunity. If you have an idea and want to work with the Essex Sound and Video Archive, please do get in touch using

This is the last message we will send out to this mailing list. If you want to keep in touch with the activities of the Essex Sound and Video Archive, and of the Essex Record Office generally, you can subscribe to the ERO e-bulletin here.

Thanks – it’s been fun.

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