Rita Thomson, nurse to Benjamin Britten

Rita Thomson, nurse to Benjamin Britten

Saturday May 12 2018

‘Well, if you don’t take this [honour], I’ll never speak to you again!’ Rita Thomson’s response to Benjamin Britten’s slight diffidence about the offer of a life peerage, providing him with the title Baron Britten of Aldeburgh, in the County of Suffolk, in the early summer of 1976 was typically direct but undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek. The […]

Box of Delights: May 2018

Wednesday May 9 2018

During the open season at The Red House the Britten-Pears Foundation’s Archive is open to the public. Once a month we select a box of interesting items from our collection to show drop in visitors, known affectionately as the Box of Delights. Anyone is welcome to see this box in the Archive, 1-5pm Tuesday to […]

Thousands of archive records now available

Wednesday April 25 2018

A major part of any archive’s work is cataloguing. With hundreds of thousands of individual items, most archives catalogue to a very high level so they have an overview of their holdings, and then start work cataloguing important elements of their collection in more detail. Since December, the Archive team and our indefatigable volunteers have […]

The Box of Delights

Thursday April 12 2018

The Britten-Pears Foundation’s Archive recently opened to drop-in visitors from 1-5pm Tuesday–Friday. Before this we were only open to researchers by prior appointment; now, we welcome anyone on site to drop in, have a look around our award-winning building, browse our books, and, if they’re interested, see a special box of items in our Reading […]

Composition what?

Tuesday March 6 2018

We recently made publicly available over 2,400 records relating to Britten’s music manuscripts. This means our online catalogue will now give you information about the manuscript materials we hold for almost all of the pieces Britten composed in his lifetime. If you browse the collection you may notice some terminology you’re not familiar with. We hold […]


Tuesday March 6 2018

Fifty years ago, in 1968, Kenneth Clark made his ground-breaking Civilisation series for BBC2: a ‘personal view’ of western arts that set a template for large-scale television surveys of knowledge. ‘What is civilisation?’ asks Clark in the opening moments of the series. He is, he confesses, unable to define in abstract terms ‘all the life-giving […]

Mapping Britten’s worlds

Wednesday February 21 2018

The theme of this year’s LGBT History Month is ‘Geography: Mapping the World’. As a contribution to this, on the 16 February the Foundation staged a small pop-up exhibition in the archive, exploring the geographies of Britten and Pears’ lives: the home they made for themselves, enmeshing themselves deeply with this part of Suffolk, and the places […]

Catalogue update, December 2017

Friday December 22 2017

There comes a time in any festive season when people get the urge to steal away for some quiet time alone. Just in time for peaceful browsing with a mince pie, the BPF archive and library has updated its online catalogue and released some 6,000 new catalogue records into the public domain. Included in this […]

English Opera Group Archive update

Thursday December 21 2017

Cataloguing work progresses on the English Opera Group archive The archive of the English Opera Group, later the English Music Theatre Company, is extensive, providing information on most of the operas produced and people involved, throughout the Group’s history from 1946 to 1981. The Group’s aim was to create and establish a living English opera […]

July 2017 Object of the Month

Thursday July 6 2017

Every month, a member of staff from the Britten-Pears Foundation chooses their favourite item or object from the collections. This month Company Secretary Amanda Arnold selects the Noye’s Fludde display of memorabilia in The Gallery: ‘Around 1966, in my second year at secondary school, I took part in my first major musical event, a staged production […]

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