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House of Sound

House of Sound Sonic Trail

​Sonic Trail Map

    House of Sound Mythophones

    ​Mythophones will be located around Cheapside as part of the Sonic Trail.



House of Sound

16-17 September 2017 | FREE

  • Saturday 12noon-5pm
  • Sunday 11am-4pm

Guildhall Yard
London, EC2V 5AE

Travel back in time to experience London as heard by Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare in a ground-breaking work that puts back the sounds the City has lost.

As part of Open House weekend, time-travel from medieval to present day London through an immersive sound experience that captures the changing sounds of the City. Composed by Iain Chambers, live performances from 7 musicians played through 22 loudspeakers will tell the story of the Square Mile, revealing the impact of its changing built and social environment.

Performances take place on the hour on Saturday 16 Setepmber from 12noon - 5pm and 11am - 4pm on Sunday 17 September.

Sonic Trail

11-17 September 2017 | FREE

Part of the House of Sound, the Sonic Trail will see ‘Mythophones’ – sculptural speakers – placed around Cheapside for listeners to connect to the locations and their previous incarnations.

Find out more about the sounds you will hear at each location below.

Bow Churchyard

​This area was home to jewellers in the 18th century; to the ecclesiastical Court of Arches within St Mary-le-Bow (ongoing); to the shops of Bow Lane; and to the shoemakers who lived and worked here and who gave this ward its name of Cordwainer.

Running time: 4’07” 

Running order:

  1. Shoemaker’s shop
  2. Divorce hearing at Doctors’ Commons
  3. 18th century jewellers
  4. Arches Court probate hearing 

One New Change

​Cheapside is a common medieval English street name meaning 'market place’, from the Old English ceap: ’bargaining, trade’. Many of the streets feeding into the main thoroughfare are named after the produce sold in those areas of the market, including Honey Lane, Milk Street, Bread Street and Poultry.

Running time: 7’48”

Running Order:

  1. Merchant’s office conversation, tallying ledgers using counters and quill pens
  2. Vendors, tricksters, and a country visitor at the market in Cheapside
  3. Goldsmith’s workshop
  4. Discussion between moneymen
  5. Public flogging at the stocks in Cheapside
  6. Conversation at The Three Cups public house
  7. Dissenting fishmonger at Cheapside market


​In Roman times this site was partly occupied by the largest amphitheatre in Britannia, marked by the dark paving in Guildhall Yard. Some of its later surviving structure may have influenced the siting of Guildhall and St Lawrence Jewry. The earliest reference to Guildhall by name dates to 1128, with a later reference to the Alderman's Bery in 1198. Other early records suggest this was a substantial administrative centre. As well as tax-collecting and governing roles, Guildhall also acted as a place of reception for royalty from at least the 14th century. It marked the beginning and end points for pageants and processions, and the first Lord Mayor's banquet was in 1501.

Running time: 3’24”

Running Order:

  1. The 1545 trial of Anne Askew for heresy by the Lord Mayor of London
  2. In the kitchens of the Guildhall during preparations for the Lord Mayor’s banquet
  3. Civil War contention in the Guildhall
  4. Inside a silk fashion accessory business

St Paul's Churchyard

Sermons were made here regularly, and at other times it fulfilled the role of a speakers' corner. Debate, discussion, and the broadcast of state and religious messages continued into the age of printing, and this area became an intellectual centre in London, perhaps its equivalent in some regards to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The booksellers of St Paul's Churchyard played a pivotal role in Early Modern England in disseminating news and knowledge to the entire country. The booksellers commissioned writers, like contemporary publishers. Musical and literary society also clustered here into the 18th century, meeting in coffee houses, taverns and music shops.

Running time: 4’57”

Running order:

  1. Author in conversation with bookseller
  2. Coffee house conversation
  3. Speeches and sermons at St Paul’s Cross, including Mary Frith (aka Moll Cutpurse) making her defence to accusations of dressing in indecent manly apparel

St Stephen Walbrook

The river Walbrook played an important role in the Roman settlement of Londinium. Starting in what is now Finsbury, it flowed through the centre of the walled city, bringing a supply of fresh water whilst carrying waste away to the Thames, and dividing Roman London into its eastern and western halves. When St Margaret Lothbury was rebuilt in 1440, the Lord Mayor paid for the lower Walbrook to be covered over. John Stow, the historian of London, wrote in 1598 that the watercourse, having several bridges, was afterwards vaulted over with brick and paved level with the streets and lanes where it passed, and that houses had been built so that the stream was hidden as it is now.

A temple of Mithras dating to the third century AD lay a short distance from St Stephen Walbrook. The remains were found in 1954 during the construction of the Bucklersbury House office block and will be displayed within the new Bloomberg London building.

Prior to the construction of the Mansion House in 1739, the Stocks market lay on the same site, dating to 1282, taking its name from a set of stocks used for punishment. A 1322 decree stipulated that the Stocks market was one of five places where fish and meat were allowed to be sold in London. After Stow's time its character changed, and towards its end was used mostly for selling herbs.

Running time: 4’16"

Running order:

  1. The Walbrook
  2. Street vendors’ cries and conversations at the Stocks market
  3. Tavern conversations
  4. Merchant dictating a letter


The House of Sound and this sonic trail are supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and by the City of London Corporation, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cheapside Business Alliance, and Oxford Contemporary Music’s Boom artist scheme.