Research Colloquia: What happened to Seaton Snook?

Creating an archive of sounds and music from an abandoned seaside.


Seaton Snook was a small town on the coast of County Durham. It was a thriving community of fishermen, blacksmiths, teachers, seacoalers, and musicians. There was a church, a school, a fairground, an indoor market, a zinc refinery, an RAF station...but then in 1968, it completely vanished.There are no government records or newspaper reports referring to the town after that year, and apparently no former residents still living.

Over the last four years I have built, an online archive of sounds and music from the town and its residents, to try and form a picture of what happened there.

The archive includes pedagogical and performance compositions for piano and harpsichord; folk tunes for the Northumbrian smallpipes; rehearsal footage of a local psychedelic rock band; as well as interviews, field recordings, photographs, and accompanying analyses.

In this session we will hear the mysterious story of Seaton Snook as far as we know it; discuss several of the archive’s nearly 100 sonic artefacts; examine the roles of composition, sonic journalism, storytelling, and parafiction in plugging the gaps in the historical record; and, ultimately, question whether any of this is real at all.

About the speaker

Dr Peter Consistently Falconer is a UK-based sound artist/composer, originally from Hartlepool. His work frequently combines music, sound design, narration, historical research, and sonic journalism to tell parafictional stories about both our own and possible alternative realities. In 2021 he completed his PhD at the University of Southampton: an online archive of sounds and music documenting the history of a parafictional abandoned seaside town called Seaton Snook. He is also a voiceover artist, providing narration for several New Music composers. 

How to join

The event will be held online – registration is not required. Join the event via Zoom at the start time.