Correspondence of Benjamin Britten

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1111 BBA
  • Dates of Creation
      early 1920s-1976
  • Physical Description
      11181 files

Scope and Content

Extensive correspondence to and from Britten.

The correspondents include many key figures of twentieth century music and culture, as well as people of lesser renown such as members of the local community, teachers, students, friends and fans.

The files include manuscript and typescript letters to Britten.

The letters from Britten include some manuscript letters in Britten's hand as well as photocopies of Britten manuscript letters. Letters from Britten are mostly typescript copy letters from Britten, his secretary or assistant. From the late 1940s onwards, Britten's secretary or assistant typed replies to many letters with Britten signing them.

All letters to and from Britten are catalogued by file, giving a list of all correspondents and dates covered.


Britten's corrrespondence is filed in two sequences; letters to Britten and letters from Britten. Within these, the files are arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent; either surname of a person or title of an organisation, company or other body. The letters to and from Britten are catalogued together and have the same series number eg. BBA/Aagaard describes correspondence between Anton Aagaard and Benjamin Britten.

Access Information


Archivist's Note

Compiled by Judith Ratcliffe, Nov 2014.


Letters from Britten continue to be acquired as and when they become available.

Related Material

See also series BBS for correspondence concerning sponsorship (concerning Britten's support of a person, organization or activity by giving money, encouragement or other help).


A selection of Britten's letters has been published in 'Letters from a Life; selected letters and diaires of Benjamin Britten', Volumes 1 to 6, edited by Donald Mitchell, Philip Reed and Mervyn Cooke (Faber and Faber, London).