The Red House on the outskirts of Aldeburgh in Suffolk was the home of Benjamin Britten from 1957 to 1976.
Britten shared this extended, late-seventeenth century farmhouse with his partner, the tenor, Peter Pears, until Britten’s death in 1976.
Many of Britten’s world famous operas and music pieces were composed working in his first floor composition studio. Once when giving a talk he said
At the moment in my studio where I work in Aldeburgh . . . there’s a blackbird making a nest just outside my window and I’m very interested to know whether she’s sitting on her eggs when I should be working.Benjamin Britten, 1963.
When I visited the garden earlier this week it was full of floral potential and already the gorgeous scent of an early flowering viburnum was wafting across the path on the way to the archive building.
There were buds and tightly furled leaves just waiting to burst given a couple days of sunshine.
The orchard has some old apple trees supporting mistletoe and a variety of new fruit trees that were added in 2008 as the garden was rejuvenated and recreated following the 1950s layout. The orchard has been underplanted with daffodils and pale yellow primulas and hellebores are growing beneath the surrounding hedging.
Receipts discovered in the extensive Britten-Pears Foundation Archive show that in 1958 Benjamin Britten ordered 63 fruit trees, 76 roses and two dozen blackcurrant bushes from Notcutts, the local nursery in Woodbridge.
It was a gentle, pleasant English garden and will be worth another visit later in the gardening year.
9 thoughts on “Spring in Benjamin Britten’s garden”
Sounds and looks like a great place to visit, thanks for the tour.
Thank you. Yes, it is worth a visit, but it was so busy, being the Easter week, that we didn’t get on the upstairs tour. 😕
What a great place this must have been to live and work.
Yes I agree absolutely a very beautiful place and it is walkable to the Suffolk coast too.
I didn’t realise Britten and Pears were gardeners too. This looks a lovely place for a peaceful afternoon. Maybe not during Easter weekend……
From one of the volunteers I got the impression that Pears was the art collector and Britten was the one interested in the garden. He ordered and bought the plants and directed a couple of gardeners – can’t imagine he’d have used his precious, pianist’s fingers for weeding!
The place does have a special feel and I will be going back with my father when it’s quieter – the £8 entrance ticket is actually also an annual pass to encourage locals to make repeat visits I assume.
You make use of it then! York Minster, among other places does the same now.
I think I could find creative inspiration while working in an upstairs study there. Another that gave me that feeling was Ruskin’s house, Brantwood, at Coniston. The view from his study~
Oh yes the luxury of a tranquil, spacious environment and beautiful views – not quite starving in the garret is it? 😊