A local family enjoying the Listening Bench in early May. © 2018 Nick Skeens

Burnham’s Listening Bench is a repository of audio clips from local residents which give a fascinating insight into the history of the town.

You just press the buttons (visible on the stainless steel plate in the middle of the backrest) to listen to up to 15 minutes of voices from the past. The playback unit is solar-powered.

It was organised by the Essex County Council Record Office, as one of 20 such benches installed across Essex, and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the ‘ You are Hear: sound and a sense of place’ project. It was installed by Maldon District Council in December 2017.

To learn more about this project and to hear the recordings on the Burnham listening bench, click here.

You can learn more about Burnham’s history and characters by clicking here.


The listening bench is on West Quay, in the southeast corner of Riverside Park, near the Burnham Sailing Club.

It was heavily vandalised in 2018. Happily Maldon District Council paid for a replacement bench.

The Friends of the Listening Bench

A new group, called the Friends of the Listening Bench, have undertaken the job of keeping it updated with new historical material and will be looking to secure interviews with the older generation so that their memories can be preserved and shared.

Councillor Nick Skeens is part of this group.

Feel free to contact him if you want to join the Friends or if you have suggestions about which local people might be interviewed.