Suffolk has a rich history which spans across hundreds of years. Over that time a number of significant buildings, events and people have left their mark on the towns and villages and Aldeburgh, with a total of 65 historic buildings and monuments in the town, is no exception.
The Red House
Benjamin Britten was one of the leading composers of the twentieth century and his life and work continues to be celebrated in the county he made his home – specifically Snape and Aldeburgh. The Red House is actually Britten’s home which he shared with his partner for the last two decades of his life. Here Britten also wrote many of his most famous works. Today The Red House contains the Britten-Pears Foundation’s extensive collections and is open all year round to visitors. With numerous events to enjoy, tours and beautiful gardens to admire, this is a cultural must for those paying a visit to this delightful seaside town.
At the north end of Aldeburgh beach you will come across Scallop, a four metre tall steel sculpture made by Sudbury-born contemporary painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling. Dedicated to Benjamin Britten who would walk along the beach, Scallop is pierced with the words “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” – taken from Peter Grimes, one of Britten’s operas. Unveiled in 2003, Scallop has attracted much attention and controversy with some locals considering it to spoil the beach. Vandalised on no less than 13 occasions, there have been petitions to both remove and retain the sculpture.
A Grade I listed timber building, Moot Hall now houses Aldeburgh Museum. For over 400 years it was used for council meetings and the Town Clerk’s office is still there today. Aldeburgh Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of Aldeburgh and the surrounding area of the Suffolk Coast. Journey back to the times of early Roman and Anglo Saxon settlers to the shipbuilding and fishing trade which made Aldeburgh famous, to the witches which were incarcerated in Moot Hall prison. The Museum is open daily between 2:30pm and 5pm in April, May, September and October, and between 12pm and 5pm June, July and August.
At the south end of the beach sits a unique quatrefoil Martello Tower. It is the largest of 103 defensive towers which were constructed between 1808 and 1812 in order to resist a Napoleonic invasion. It is also the only surviving building of the fishing village of Slaughden which was washed away by the sea in 1936. The Martello Tower stands on the narrow strip of land leading to Orford Ness shingle split. Be sure to visit Aldeburgh Museum to learn more about the Martello Tower.