Britain’s national radio station has shared a huge cache of sound files from its archives—16,000 recordings from across the world and throughout its 90-year history of broadcasting.
Download the full collection of 16,000+ sound
effects from the BBC archives
As you may imagine from a station that began near the end of Britain’s imperial era and continued to aspire to global news coverage, there is a huge diversity in the sound files.
The collection includes audio clips such as "South American parrot talking and screeching" and "Morocco: Marrakesh, market square with music & distant traffic," as well as charming local fare like various "Westminster Abbey bells" and "1 lorry passing slowly." The set also includes sound effects created in the BBC studios for radio plays and other programs.
While the files retain their copyrights by the BBC, they are available for free to download and use for all "personal, educational, or research purposes," and can be requested (and presumably licensed) for commercial use.
Check out all of the sound files for yourself here. And if you find any good snare hits, let us know in the comments.