Wire Recorder Project

Recovering old family recordings made on steel wire

This web site describes how recordings made on steel wire by my Grandfather from about 1949 were recovered to be enjoyed again by his descendants.

Here are some short clips from the wires in MP3 format.
A full archive of all the wires is now available here

Radio: comedian - "fisherman gets on a bus..." I find this just as funny as any stand-up comedy today. Many people have told me that it is Ken Platt and probably recorded from a program called Worker's Playtime on the BBC Light programme, some time in the 1950s but I don't know when. I have had requests for the whole recording. It is truncated at both ends, but I have put all 8 minutes of it here.
Radio: songs and presenters The first of these songs, a Frank Loesser tune called "I've never been in love before", is one that I play regularly on Jazz gigs so it is great to hear it recorded when it was still a 'pop' song!
Radio: "cricket lovely cricket" This is a clip from a song that I found on the oldest of the spools. The song was written in 1950 to commemorate the celebrated victory of the West Indies cricket team over England in that year. You can read more information here and the lyrics are here.
My Great Grandfather "story-telling" We think this is my Mum's Dad's Dad, speaking in around 1949. Again it is from the oldest of the wires (but is not necessarily the oldest recording...). It illustrates the difficulty of cataloging the 8-or-so hours of sounds. Nobody can remember who all the voices belong to, or when they were recorded!
My Grandfather playing the piano I found many recordings of my Grandfather playing both classical and jazz/ragtime piano. The reproduction was quite poor on this recording but it is a beautiful piece of music. Can anyone tell me what it is? Update: it turns out to be the 1st movement from Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 19 in G minor, op.49. Thanks to Nicholas Arrnold for that information.
Family voices: 1951 Christmas wishes No doubt when this was recorded! It is one of the rare moments where the speakers identify themselves and the year! This is my Grandfather's brother and his family. I would like to trace their children: Catherine and Linda (Fairey) who appear on this recording.


The radio sounds are reproduced without permission - if anyone has any information about copyright, please contact me.