Manchester City Council

Sound archive

  1. The Greater Manchester Sound Archive is held at Central Library. You can listen to over 5,600 sound recordings on cassette, CD and mp3 at Central Library and libraries and museums around Greater Manchester.

  2. What's available

    You can browse the archive catalogue for over 35,000 sounds. Click 'search' and use the 'category' field to specify what kind of sounds you are looking for. For example, radio, music, oral history and sound archive (which includes speeches, sound effects and other recorded sounds).

    The oral histories collection includes stories of places, dialects, communities, immigration, war, pastimes and industries around Greater Manchester. There are also lots of folk, classical and popular music recordings and radio broadcasts from BBC Radio Manchester and Piccadilly Radio.

    Listen to some of our collections from the archives catalogue, including:

  3. How to access

    If we hold an electronic copy at Central Library you don't need an appointment to listen. Over 2,500 sounds have already been digitised. The catalogue will state that you can listen to the recording on the sound archive iPad in the search room. Just bring a pair of headphones and make yourself comfortable.

    If the copy is held on tape or elsewhere around Greater Manchester you will need to make an appointment to listen.

    If the original sound recording has not yet been copied email and we will give you a quote to have it digitised.

    If you can’t find what you're looking for email

    You’ll find a selection of short clips at our Soundcloud page.

  4. Next steps

    The full collection including over 35,000 catalogued items will be published later this year on the archives catalogue. If you have any queries, email

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