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Britten’s High Street – The history of shopping in Aldeburgh


Britten’s High Street: The history of shopping in Aldeburgh

Sharing Suffolk Stories is an initiative developed by the Suffolk Record Office, the county’s archive which maintains a historical record of Suffolk and its people.
It is the perfect opportunity to uncover the hidden stories of people and places dating from the middle ages up to the present day.

Britten’s High Street: The history of shopping in Aldeburgh is a project in partnership with the Aldeburgh-based Britten-Pears Foundation and we are looking for local residents to delve into the financial receipts of Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten and his partner, the singer Peter Pears. They saved all their purchases from the late 1940’s to the early 1970’s which are now held in the Foundation’s archive and offer a fascinating insight into shopping trends of the time.

Participants will be supported by archive staff to re-discover the stories of Aldeburgh High Street and share your findings to the wider community through creative interpretation, an exhibition or even a heritage trail – the choice is yours!

Who was Benjamin Britten? Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. The Red House in Aldeburgh is the home Britten shared with his partner, the singer Peter Pears (1910-1986) for the last two decades of his life and where he wrote many of his most famous works such as Noye’s Fludde, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and War Requiem.

The Red House, Aldeburgh It is home to the Britten-Pears Foundation which maintains, conserves and develops The Red House as a major heritage site and uses it, through a range of activities to encourage children and adults to learn more about the life and work of Britten and Pears. The Foundation has one of the most unique composer collections in the world that includes their home, music manuscripts, documents, artworks, rare books and multi-media materials.

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Cover image: Benjamin Britten buying fish in Aldeburgh fish shop in the early 1970s. Photographer unknown. Reproduced courtesy of the Britten-Pears Foundation.