British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Voices of History 1

This two-CD set features historic recordings from the Sound Archive of some of the most famous and influential people active from the early days of sound recording to the middle of the 20th century. Forty speakers are represented, covering politics, women’s rights, commerce, royalty, religion and society. Starting with a rare 1888 recording of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, the speakers include suffragette Christabel Pankhurst and the first sitting woman MP Nancy Astor; Mahatma Gandhi on Hinduism and Aga Khan III on the world of Islam; William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, and philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Recordings of Florence Nightingale and Neville Chamberlain are streamed, free online at

CD 1
1. William Ewart Gladstone - Message to Edison (rec 18.12.1888); 2. Herbert Henry Asquith - Speech on the Budget (rec 20.07.1909); 3. David Lloyd George - Speech on the Budget (rec 23.07.1909); 4. Woodrow Wilson - Speech on labour (rec 24.09.1912); 5. Vladimir Ilich Lenin - In memory of Comrade Yakov Mikhailovich (rec 1919); 6. Eamon de Valera - Saint Patrick’s Day address (rec 03/04.1920); 7. Ramsay MacDonald - Labour Party 1929 election. Part 1 Unemployment (rec 11.04.1929); 8. Stanley Baldwin - Address by the Prime Minister at the Empire Rally of Youth [extract] (rec 18.05.1937); 9. Leon Trotsky - Speech to the Mexican People (rec 1937); 10. Adolf Hitler - Speech in Königsberg [extract] (rec 25.03.1938); 11. Neville Chamberlain -
The Prime Minister’s speech at Heston Airport on his return from Munich (rec 30.09.1938); 12. Winston Churchill - This was their finest hour [extract] (rec 18.06.1940); 13. Joseph Stalin - Radio broadcast to the Soviet people [extract] (rec 03.07.1941); 14. Franklin D. Roosevelt - Address to Congress (rec 08.12.1941);15. Clement Attlee - Speech at the opening assembly of the United Nations [extract] (rec 10.01.1946); 16. Christabel Pankhurst - Suffrage for women (rec 18.12.1908); 17. Margaret Wintringham - Politics and the home (rec 25.03.1929); 18. Margaret Bondfield
The woman’s opportunity (rec 28.03.1929); 19. Katharine Ramsay - The new outlook for women (rec 18.04.1929); 20. Nancy Astor - Nancy Astor lays foundation stone [edited] (rec 14.05.1931); Women against the war (rec 05.04.1936); Women demand equal compensation (rec 22.09.1941); 21. Edith Summerskill - Women demand equal compensation (rec 22.09.1941); Close-up of Edith Summerskill (rec 23.01.1945).

CD 2 listing: 1. Andrew Carnegie - The Gospel of Wealth (rec. 20.01.1914); 2. Josiah Wedgwood - Land and labour (rec 03.05.1911); 3. Thomas James Macnamara - The future of British industry (rec 08.04.1929); 4. Arthur Salter - The return to prosperity and how the League of Nations is helping [extract] (rec 24.06.1929); 5. George V - A message to the Empire (rec 25.12.1932); 6. Edward VIII - Abdication speech (rec 11.12.1936); 7. Princess Elizabeth - A broadcast message to children (rec 13.10.1940); 8. George VI - A message broadcast on D-Day [edited] (rec 06.06.1944); 9. Francis Bourne - Speech on education (rec. 13.01.1906); 10. Herbert Samuel - The Jewish homeland (rec 03/04.1926); 11. Dick Sheppard - The relevance of Christianity [extract] (rec 12.06.1929); 12. Mahatma Gandhi - His spiritual message to the world (rec 17.10.1931); 13. Aga Khan III - My message to the world of Islam (rec 06.11.1931); 14. Florence Nightingale - In aid of the Light Brigade Relief Fund (rec 30.07.1890); 15. William Booth - Don’t forget (rec 11.1906); 16. Robert Baden-Powell
Address to boy scouts (rec 22.12.1913); 17. Rachel Crowdy - The social and humanitarian work of the League of Nations [extract] (rec 16.11.1928); 18. Tubby Clayton - Toc H festival speech [extract] (rec 30.03.1931); 19. Bertrand Russell -
Speech at European Congress on nuclear disarmament [extract] (rec 17.01.1959);
Great Britain
Year of release
Year of production
out of distribution
44-page booklet giving full details of the recordings with translations and transcripts where necessary
History; Media studies; Politics & government; Women’s studies
archive sound recordings; political events; speeches; suffragette movement

Distribution Formats

145 minutes



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A range of audio publications related to the collections of the British Library’s Sound Archive. Historical topics, wildlife sounds, world music, art and literature are particularly strongly represented. There are also a few DVDs, videos and CD-ROMs based on holdings in the BL. Some of the titles are available for paid audio download.

Available from retail outlets

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