Our collections of audio and video interviews provide insights into many aspects of UK personal memory, identity and experience.

Collection guides

Listening and Viewing Service box

Listening and Viewing Service

The Listening and Viewing Service provides free onsite public access to our collection of recorded sound and video.

Users can hear any item from our extensive holdings of published and unpublished recordings of music, wildlife, drama, literature, and oral history.

We can also provide access to archived BBC Radio broadcasts.

Mon - Thu: 10.00 - 20.00
Fri - Sat: 10.00 - 17.00
Sun and English Public Holidays: closed

You will need a Reader Pass. Over 200,000 digital tracks are available for instant access without an appointment, though you may have to make an appointment to listen to some sounds.

T: +44 (0)20 7412 7418
F: +44 (0)20 7412 7441

British Library Sounds offers free online access to 80,000 selections from the Library’s extensive collections of unique sound recordings.

Blog posts

Recording of the week: language and identity

Monday, June 19, 2017

This week's selection comes from Jonnie Robinson, Lead Curator of Spoken English. This short exchange during a conversation between two young females talking about life and relationships offers a fascinating glimpse into how our linguistic choices reflect our identity. One...

Recording of the week: an encounter with an orangutan

Monday, June 12, 2017

This week's selection comes from Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife and Environmental Sounds. Coming face to face with a wild orangutan is something most nature lovers can only dream about. In this evocative interview extract, wildlife sound recordist John Paterson...

Recording of the week: surviving an oil rig disaster

Monday, June 5, 2017

This week's selection comes from Dr Rob Perks, Lead Curator Oral History. In this moving testimony recorded for ‘Lives in the Oil Industry’ project, oral historian Hugo Manson talks to Bob Ballantyne (1942-2004), a survivor of the Piper Alpha North...

Remembering beliefs

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The programme for this year's Annual Conference of the Oral History Society - Remembering beliefs: the shifting worlds of religion and faith in secular society has been released.

More blog posts

Projects

National Life Stories

A unique and invaluable record of people’s lives in Britain today

National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

Artists’ lives and work in their own words

National Life Stories: Crafts Lives

Memories and experiences of independent makers working in British studio crafts

National Life Stories: Legal Lives

In-depth interviews with people involved in the legal and criminal justice system

All projects

Library experts

Rob Perks

Lead Curator, Oral History & Director of National Life Stories

Mary Stewart

Curator, Oral History, and Deputy Director of National Life Stories

Dr Cai Parry-Jones

Curator, Oral History

Oral History case studies

…To create an archive which will be part of the Library is really a privilege…

Dvora is a collaborative PhD student exploring the social world of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards.

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Oral History Society

Promotes the collection, preservation and use of recorded memories