A number of publications make it possible to consult key Britten and Pears writings.
If you are interested in Britten’s letters, many of these have been published in the six-volume series Letters from a Life: the Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten, 1913-1976 (ed. Philip Reed, Mervyn Cooke and Donald Mitchell).
For Pears and Britten’s letters to each other, see My Beloved Man (ed. Nicholas Clark, Vicki P Stroeher and Jude Brimmer), which reproduces all 365 letters in full.
For Britten’s diaries, see Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 1928-1938 (ed. John Evans).
For a comprehensive collection of writings by Britten, see Britten on Music (ed. Paul Kildea).
For Peter Pears’ travel writings, see The Travel Diaries of Peter Pears: 1936-1978 (ed. Philip Reed).
Finally, Benjamin Britten: A Catalogue of the Published Works (ed. Paul Banks) gives a comprehensive list of all Britten’s published works.
Manuscripts of many of Britten’s best known works have been digitised by the British Library and are available to view on their website here.
There are further digitised resources available from our online archive catalogue, most notably:
- Britten’s writings: Britten’s writings not published elsewhere have been made available digitally. You can view these here.
- Photographs: Where copyright allows, all our photographs are available to view online. You can browse our photographic collection here, and our collection of production photographs here.
- Programmes: We have begun to digitise our programmes. You can browse these here.
In the Reading Room
We also have some excellent resources available on open shelving in our reading room.
- complete photocopies of Britten’s diaries, which he kept from 1928-1939, and of his appointment diaries, 1945-1976.
- transcripts of oral history interviews about Britten and Pears
- a complete set of Aldeburgh Festival programme books
- press reviews of Britten and Pears performances or works
- indexes of Britten’s diaries, Britten and Pears’ performances, English Opera Group performances, and Aldeburgh Festival events
- key works of Britten scholarship, including all the books mentioned above
- all published Britten works.
If you need to consult other items than those listed above, we have a searchable online catalogue which will help you identify the archival material you’d like to see.
You can also see an overview of the archival material we hold here.
Not all our archive holdings are catalogued, so you may also want to contact us and a member of the archive team will be able to advise you about our holdings.
We ask that all readers give us at least two weeks’ notice before they intend to visit the archive.
Please note that although access to our resources is currently limited the collections team still welcomes research enquiries and will do their best to help as much as possible.