Project to protect region’s historic sounds

South Shields Museum and Art Gallery
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery

The people behind South Shields Museum and Art Gallery are set to take the lead in the North East on a multi-million pound project to create a national network of sound preservation centres.

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums is joining forces with the British Library to save almost half a million rare and unique recordings threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats that can no longer be played.

The project - called Unlocking Our Sound Heritage - is costing £18.8m and has received a funding boost of £9.5m from the National Lottery which will help towards the creation of ten sound preservation centres.

The recordings tell a story of the UK’s diverse history through traditional pop and worlds music, drama and literature readings, regional radio and wildlife sounds from around the country.

The funding will enable Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and partners in the North East and Yorkshire to work with the British Library to preserve its own unique and rare regional sounds and develop a range of engagement activities to connect the wider public with their sound heritage.

Coun Ged Bell, Chair of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Joint Committee said: “This is a fascinating project and working with the British Library and partners across the North East and Yorkshire, we’re very much looking forward to being able to share these important and interesting pieces of our sound heritage.”

A vital element of Unlocking Our Sound Heritage will be an interactive website hosted by the British Library, allowing listeners to explore a wide selection of recordings. This website is scheduled to go live in 2019.