The sound recordings in the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC) are held on some 888 open-reel and audio-cassette tapes, and 841 gramophone discs. During the course of the LAVC project, the audio tapes were copied onto mini-disc in order to provide access copies for researchers wishing to consult them. The majority of the originals are mono half-track, recorded at 9.5cm/sec and 19.5cm/sec. The earliest recordings were made in the 1950s.
The majority of the audio tapes contain fieldwork recordings made by students pursuing courses through the Department of English Language and Medieval English Literature, and the Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies, and were submitted with theses and dissertations. The geographical spread of the recordings is broad, and includes most English counties, as well as recordings made in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and by overseas students.
A wide variety of subject matter is represented, including personal recollections; descriptions, observations and thoughts relating to community and society, economics and industrial relations, politics and history; local and national calendar customs; customs and beliefs; traditional medicine; traditional narratives; children's traditions; traditional music, song, dance, and drama; traditional crafts, work techniques, and material culture. The Archive also holds recordings made as part of the Survey of English Dialects, including fieldwork interviews based on the Dieth-Orton Questionnaire and free conversation with informants. Allied to these are a number of independent English dialect survey recordings made by individual researchers.
These pages include a selection of audio samples from the LAVC's audio-tape sound recordings. The selection aims to be representative of the range of sound recordings held in the Archive. Attempts have been made to include samples from all areas of the United Kingdom, although there has necessarily been a bias towards recordings of speakers and singers from Yorkshire. The samples represent recordings made throughout the lifetime of the development of the LAVC, from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Various subject matter is represented in accordance with the wide variety of research undertaken through the Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies.
Audio samples from the Survey of English Dialects recordings have not been included, as they have been the subject of a sampling initiative undertaken by the British Library as part of the Collect Britain project. These samples can be accessed through the British Library Sounds Collection on English Accents and Dialects .