Work on a project

Sharing Suffolk Stories: Britten's High Street: Discovering the history of shopping in Aldeburgh Researcher


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.

Contact us


What's involved?

Reporting to the Community & Learning Officer (East):

  • Conduct initial contextual and archival research to discover the stories of Aldeburgh High Street at Britten Pears Foundation Archives at The Red House, Ipswich Record Office or remotely.
  • Using Suffolk Archives, BPF Archives and other relevant secondary sources to research themes and topics as agreed with the Volunteer Project Coordinator.
  • Consider conducting oral history interviews (training can be provided)
  • With Volunteer Project Coordinator and in liaison with the Community and Learning Officer, create an effective system to log research carried out by volunteers and participants.
  • Support the Volunteer Project Coordinator to coordinate opportunities to share and engage new audiences with research findings.
  • With the Volunteer Project Coordinator, consider opportunities to write blog pages and content for Suffolk Record Office Social Media policy.
  • Support requests for information requested for the Suffolk Record Office’s website or media opportunities about the project.
  • Support evaluation of the project with requested project information and feedback.
  • Support the Exhibition & Interpretation Officer in curating exhibitions and events at The Hold.

Why get involved?

Benefits to the Volunteer:

  • Opportunity to develop research and project management skills, whilst enabling people to discover their own local history.
  • Opportunity to discover the hidden history of Aldeburgh and share your findings with the wider community.
  • Chance to meet volunteers and the general public
  • Enjoyment and fulfillment
  • Travel expenses are refunded

How to get involved?

  1. Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
  2. Accept the challenge.
  3. Await a response from Suffolk Archives with more information.

Ideal Skills

  • Working with Children 0-5yrs
  • Working with Children 6 - 12yrs
  • I'm based near Ipswich

Ideal Interests

  • Creative and Arts
  • Learning and Education
  • Visitor Service/ Front of House
  • I'm based near Ipswich

Share this