The Library and Archive collections originate from material assembled by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Britten’s music manuscripts are at the core of the archive but the collections also comprise annotated libretto drafts, books and printed music, photographs, correspondence, concert programmes, press cuttings, set and costume designs. We hold the papers for the English Opera Group and English Music Theatre as well as a wealth of material relating to the history of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts.
The collections team provides a comprehensive range of reader services, both to those visiting in person and remotely.
Visiting the Archive Reading Room
The Rosamund Strode Reading Room (named after Britten’s music assistant and our first archivist) is open to all members of the public by appointment.
Appointments are available during the following times and should be booked at least two weeks in advance:
- Monday: 10am–5pm
- Tuesday: 2-5pm (closed am)
- Wednesday-Friday: 10am–5pm
- Closed weekends and public holidays
For details of material available for research in the Reading Room please search our catalogues.
Requests to use the Reading Room must be made in advance to the BPF collections team, preferably by email. Please give a brief description of your intended research, along with details of the exact material you would like to see on your visit (with reference codes from the catalogues where possible). You may of course request to see further material during your visit, following discussion with the collections staff on duty.
Space in the Reading Room is limited so if you intend to bring anyone to assist you please do let us know as we will need to book a seat for them as well.
Free wifi access is available in the Reading Room.
Research Enquiries and Reprographic Services
The Britten-Pears Foundation provides a comprehensive email enquiries service. We welcome all kinds of enquiry – however in-depth – and aim to answer within 10 working days.
The Collections Team is able to undertake a small amount of scanning, photography and photocopying for researchers unable to visit the Reading Room in person. This service is subject to conservation constraints and completion of a copyright declaration form. If a researcher requires digital copies of a substantial quantity of archival documents we can provide contact details of a specialist photographer who can be commissioned to carry out this work on your behalf.
The number of high resolution scans and photocopies that we can offer is limited, and there is a charge for the service.