The Archive

The Archive is home to Britten and Pears’ music manuscripts, papers, rare books and art collection. It is open by appointment for anyone to visit and is the most complete composer archive in the world.

As well as the manuscript scores of almost all Britten’s works – from his earliest childhood right up to his death – it contains working papers, letters, costume designs, set designs and set models, and an extensive collection of programmes.

The book collection includes source material for operas such as The Turn of the Screw and Death in Venice, often with extensive notes scribbled on them by Britten and Pears, and music books and treaties dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The art collection, totalling around 1,200 pieces are kept here when not on display, and most represent works by their friends or connections, with mid-20th century British art at the heart of their collection. Contact the Archive for further information about the museum objects at the Red House site.

We often have short Archive events for visitors to The Red House, we'll let you know if there's anything happening when you collect your tickets.

Stories from the Archive

Thursdays and Fridays | 11.30am, 12.45pm, 2.45pm

Each week a member of the team gives a 20-25 minute talk about an object in the Archive, revealing the fascinating stories behind it.

The Archive is open to everyone to visit and consult material. You can arrange a visit by emailing the Archive team at or by calling the Red House on 01728 687110.

Find out about the Archive opening hours here