Valence House

Valence House Valence House is a Grade II* listed moated Medieval manor house surrounded by tranquil green spaces. Admission free. It has a Museum, Archives and garden.
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The only surviving manor house in Dagenham, Valence House was first recorded in a property deed in 1269. It is still partially surrounded by a moat. Exciting new galleries tell the story of Barking and Dagenham and its people throughout the ages. The Archives and Local Studies Centre has relocated to the new Visitor Centre. Admission free (some events are ticketed). Relax in the tranquil surroundings of the Herb Garden, Victory Plot and grounds. Round off your visit by taking refreshments in the Oasis Cafe and browsing in our shop..

Operating as usual

🦢👏 Swan Rescue Wednesday! 🦢👏Yesterday, a female swan missed her landing in the Valence Park lake. She ended up landing i...
07/01/2021

🦢👏 Swan Rescue Wednesday! 🦢👏
Yesterday, a female swan missed her landing in the Valence Park lake. She ended up landing in the hedge on Valence House premises and hurt herself. She couldn’t walk anymore and damaged her wings. Managing to crawl against the railing to re-join with her mate, she got stuck between the rails and was dying of asphyxiation. Fortunately, Michèle, our Heritage Ranger managed to free her so that she was able to breathe again. Jack, one of our volunteers, monitored her and gave her seeds and water before a volunteer from the Swan Sanctuary came and collected our injured buddy. We are hoping to see her back as soon as she gets better!

Barking and Dagenham Council

01/01/2021

Staff and volunteers would like to thank all of our followers for their continued support in what has been a difficult year for everyone. We had planned to reopen on 5 January, but Tier 4 restrictions mean that this now cannot happen. The safety of our staff and visitors remains a priority, and we hope to open again as soon as it is safe to do so.

May you all have a happy and healthy 2021!

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artworks f...
29/12/2020

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artworks from our collection that record some of the buildings and farmland that made way for the construction of the estate.

In this, the last post of the series, we will be celebrating the festive season by looking at a few of the public houses in the borough that have been captured on paper and canvas.

Most if the information provided in this post has been taken from Barking pubs past and present and Dagenham pubs past and present, both by Tony Clifford, former borough librarian.

Happy birthday Becontree Estate!

#BeforeBecontree
Barking and Dagenham Council

It's day 24....One more sleep to go and we are dreaming of a white Christmas! Thank you for following our Christmas Coun...
24/12/2020

It's day 24....

One more sleep to go and we are dreaming of a white Christmas! Thank you for following our Christmas Countdown, we are signing off with these super snowy scenes from Dagenham Village 1968. Merry Christmas from everyone at Valence House 🎄☃️

Barking and Dagenham Council

Ho ho ho 🎅 Nigel's getting ready to help out the big guy tonight!  Can't wait to see you and your impressive beard growi...
24/12/2020

Ho ho ho 🎅 Nigel's getting ready to help out the big guy tonight! Can't wait to see you and your impressive beard growing skills again next year 👋 Toodle pip Nigel 😊
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 23......
23/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 23...

Have you seen our new behind the scenes film? Take a look inside the museum store and go exploring through the cellars and loft in the house, all from the comfort of your armchair! Enjoy 😊

http://valencehousecollections.co.uk/browse/behind-the-scenes-at-the-museum/

Barking and Dagenham Council

Might need to get yourself a bigger tipper truck Nigel if you're planning on helping to move all that compost into the h...
23/12/2020

Might need to get yourself a bigger tipper truck Nigel if you're planning on helping to move all that compost into the herb garden....
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 22......
22/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 22...

This little lady is excited to be celebrating Christmas Day in 1953. Her Dad and the man behind the lens is none other than former borough photographer Egbert "Eggy" Smart. His role was to snap every aspect of local life including the people, their work, and social activities. Now thousands of his photographs make up an invaluable collection and historic record of the changing landscape.

Barking and Dagenham Council

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artworks f...
22/12/2020

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artworks from our collection that record some of the buildings and farmland that made way for the construction of the estate.

In this, the penultimate post of the series, we will be following up last weeks post by looking at Dagenham’s famous water feature – Dagenham Breach (also known as Dagenham Gulf).

In the 1200s, large embankments were constructed alongside the Thames to protect the low, flat land behind from flooding. The land provided rich grazing for cattle but the upkeep of the flood defences was time-consuming and labour intensive. The 1370s was a particularly bad decade. In three successive years holes were ripped in the embankments by tidal surges driven by North Sea storms up the Thames estuary, flooding the lands behind. Barking Abbey was the largest landowner in the area and, in 1377, the abbess, Maud Montagu, was commanded by King Edward III to repair the breaches. Unable to do so, Maud attempted to make money from the flooded lands by renting them to local fishermen. The fishermen had found that fish, which entered the flooded land at high tide, became trapped in the ditches as the tide retreated and were easy to catch.

As a result, much of the marshland was abandoned. It was used for animal grazing and provided a valuable source of reeds for thatched roofs in the local area. In 1621 another major breach occurred when the Dagenham and Hornchurch marshes were flooded. The famous Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden was invited to England to carry out repairs. His barrier lasted for 80 years.

In 1707, a heavy inland flood, an unusually high spring tide and strong north-easterly winds, caused the river wall at Dagenham to breach again and the low-lying marshes were once more flooded.

An Act of Parliament was passed in 1714 to repair the breach at public expense. Captain John Perry was appointed and he began the process of relieving the tremendous pressure of the waters against the breach at high tide by making two additional openings in the bank a little downstream of the breach through which the water flowed in and out of the inland lake. These openings were protected by strong sluice gates.

Gradually, over time, Perry reinforced the embankment with a row of timber piles driven into the channel and, on either side a low cofferdam-like structure was erected. About 300 men were employed for five years on the task. Three dams were built, the last one standing firm against the tide. It was completed on 18 June 1719. The opening was effectively stopped and the water drained from the land by the sluices, leaving the extensive inland lake.

In 1887 Samuel Williams bought land at Dagenham Breach where he built a timber dock with a railway track connected to the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway mainline. He also filled in much of the Breach lake behind his dock with spoil brought downriver from London. By 1891, he had developed two deep-water jetties and the area became known as Dagenham Dock. In 1929 construction began on the Ford factory on concrete piles on part of the reclaimed land. The factory site includes the remains of the Breach lake today.

#BeforeBecontree
Barking and Dagenham Council

You are working that backpack hoover Nigel! Making sure the hidden toilet in the Great Parlour is spic and span, thanks ...
22/12/2020

You are working that backpack hoover Nigel! Making sure the hidden toilet in the Great Parlour is spic and span, thanks for the deep clean help! #nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 21......
21/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 21...

Some things never change... back in 1913 a set of shiny new wheels was top of the Christmas wishlist. These jazzy looking bikes were for sale in Gammages department store in Holborn, a much loved toy retailer who briefly opened a Romford branch in the late 1960s.

Barking and Dagenham Council

Ermm Nigel where are you trying to move the V2 rocket engine to? Climb down and step back from the pallet truck!  #nigel...
21/12/2020

Ermm Nigel where are you trying to move the V2 rocket engine to? Climb down and step back from the pallet truck!
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 20......
20/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 20...

We have been missing our usual showstopping Christmas tree that sits at the bottom of the stairs in the museum. Inspired by Victorian era trees that gained great popularity in the mid 19th century it is decorated with dried fruit, glass and wooden ornaments and candles – safety first though, we’ve ditched the wax and gone electric on our tree 🕯️ 🎄

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 19......
19/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 19...

Can you believe it has been 3 years since Nigel the museum elf first started visiting us! Safe to say it’s been an action packed few years of elfsploration antics as he has been getting to know Valence House and all of the collections, buildings, nooks and crannies!

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 18......
18/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 18....

Did you know it’s not only the iconic portraits that make up our Fanshawe collection? Along with the paintings we look after an extensive collection of books, letters, papers and ephemera. These lovely Fanshawe Christmas cards date from the early 1900s 🎄

N'awww Nigel you big softie wearing your heart on your sleeve with Barbie! Blinging leather jacket is on point 👌#nigelth...
18/12/2020

N'awww Nigel you big softie wearing your heart on your sleeve with Barbie! Blinging leather jacket is on point 👌
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 17......
17/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 17....

Get your bells, baubles and secateurs at the ready and have a go at making Michèle our Heritage Ranger's winter wreath:
http://valencehousecollections.co.uk/learning/

Barking and Dagenham Council

Brrrrrrr looks like it's been a chilly night's kip out in the Anderson shelter Nigel 🥶#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum...
17/12/2020

Brrrrrrr looks like it's been a chilly night's kip out in the Anderson shelter Nigel 🥶
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 16......
16/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 16....

By the mid 1920s Christmas trees were a common sight in homes around Britain. Here, our 1920s inspired tree is covered in delicate glass ornaments and lametta that would shimmer in the light of a roaring fire 🔥 🎄

Barking and Dagenham Council

It's not hook a duck time Nigel! Reassemble and step away from the store dehumidifier, it's there to control the relativ...
16/12/2020

It's not hook a duck time Nigel! Reassemble and step away from the store dehumidifier, it's there to control the relative humidity as opposed to being an itty bitty duck pond 🐤
#nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a new weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artwor...
15/12/2020

2021 marks the 100th birthday of the Becontree Estate. In a new weekly series #BeforeBecontree we will be sharing artworks from our collection that record some of the buildings and farmland that made way for the construction of the estate.

We will now be stepping outside the boundaries of the Becontree Estate, looking at the landscape that surrounded it.
The building of the estate was a catalyst for change across the whole of Barking and Dagenham.

As the series draws to a close, this week we will take a look at the artworks depicting the Town Quay.

Barking’s past prosperity was primarily due to its location on the River Roding and the port and related industries that developed as a result. Today the barges and the fishing smacks are gone, but this area is still known as the Town Quay. The listed granary building is the only building that survives of the once-bustling port.

Mediaeval Barking was dominated by the Abbey, but the economic centres of the town were at the Quay and at the Market Place in the Broadway. Two water mills were recorded at Barking in the Domesday book of 1086. Both were probably on the Roding close to the Quay. Archaeological excavation in 1986 and again in 2020 discovered the remains of a wood-lined channel that probably brought water to even earlier water mills. The timbers have been dated by dendrochronology (tree ring dating) to the 700s A.D.

From the late medieval times, we know that the Town Quay was a large body of water that lay to the south of the watermill. It was probably formed by a breach in the river walls that bordered the river. Such breaches were common in the mediaeval and later periods when the weather was wetter and stormier than today. They often resulted in the formation of large deep-water lakes or inlets. This body of water was often known as the Mill Pool.

At the north side of the Mill Pool is an island that was originally joined to the east and west banks of the river by a causeway. It was originally called Manbridge Street. Until the London Road was built in the early 1800s this was one of the only land route from Barking town to East Ham and to London beyond. Today it is called Highbridge Road.

The first reference we have to goods arriving by water at Barking was in 1203 when two ships sailing to Normandy took on a cargo of bacon. Leather and wool were being shipped from Barking in the 14th century. Until the 20th century, the Town Quay was the principal place that goods were transported in and out of the town.

From the 14th century into the 19th century the most important industry in the town was fishing. One of the earliest references to Barking's fishermen is dated 1320 when a group was prosecuted by the authorities of the City of London for the illegal use of kiddle nets with too fine a mesh. Barking had 23 smack owners in 1805, 70 in 1814, 120 in 1833 and 220 in 1850. By the latter date Barking was one of the most important fishing ports in England. This was due mainly to the enterprise of the Hewett family and their Short Blue Fleet and Home Fleet, most of which sailed from Barking.

As early as 1456 some of the street names near and around the Town Quay bear witness to this activity. There was a Fish Shambles and a Fish Row, probably in the Market Place, as well as a Fisher Street that ran parallel to the river.

The shipbuilding industry in Barking was particularly prosperous in the early 19th century where there were five shipwrights, six sailmakers, four open line makers, five master block makers, three ship smith's and two ship chandlers recorded in 1848, many of these were based close to the Quay.

By the 20th century, the importance of the Quay to the town's economy had considerably dwindled. The disappearance of the fishing industry from the 1860s onwards had quickly eliminated the boat building industry and the industries that supplied the fishermen. The arrival of the railway in the town and the building of new roads allowed raw materials and finished goods to be transported much faster by land than by water. The water mill, the miller's house and most of the buildings around the Quay were demolished in 1922.

Despite this some factories along the River Roding still chose to bring their raw materials in by water as late as the 1960s.

#BeforeBecontree
Barking and Dagenham Council

Well that's one way of topping up your tan Nigel! Glad to see you've got plenty of elfcream on ☀️ #nigelthemuseumelf #el...
15/12/2020

Well that's one way of topping up your tan Nigel! Glad to see you've got plenty of elfcream on ☀️ #nigelthemuseumelf #elfinthemuseum

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 15......
15/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 15....

Whip yourself up a delicious Christmas treat with Kim's Christmas Cake recipe 🎄 *Warning* may cause excessive merriment and the need to undo your top button. Tuck in 😋
http://valencehousecollections.co.uk/learning/

Barking and Dagenham Council

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 14......
14/12/2020
You shop. Valence Volunteers gets money. For free.

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 14....

It has been a challenging year and our fantastic volunteers have been unable to carry out their usual fundraising efforts that are so invaluable in supporting our work. So they got their thinking caps on and have registered with Easyfundraising, which means you can now raise free donations to support Valence House when you shop online.

Easyfundraising has over 4,000 shops and sites which will donate to us at no extra cost to yourself, including lots of big name retailers like John Lewis, Argos, Uswitch, eBay, M&S, Just Eat, Now TV, Domino's Pizza and Audible.

All you have to do is sign up to support us using the link below. Then every time you shop online, go through the easyfundraising website or App and we’ll receive a % of your spend as a free donation, at no cost to you or us.

Barking and Dagenham Council

Help us when you shop with 4,300 shops & sites. Join now.

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 13......
13/12/2020

The pesky elves are still causing problems on the external website hosting our Christmas Countdown, so here is day 13....

"Seasons greetings from the 1949 December edition of the Ford Work News magazine. What a pointy hat you have Father Christmas!"

Barking and Dagenham Council

Address

Valence House, Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, Essex
Dagenham
RM8 3HT

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

020 8227 2034

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Comments

Why has the advent calendar disappeared?
In responding to John Cruddas post regarding the Becontree Estate a thought crossed my mind. My grandparents to on the rent of our house as new back in 1927. My mother still lives there aged 88, and I have possession of a number of documents including the first rent book, picture attached, would you be interested in such items, and or our story, having been continuously resident in the same house since 1927.
Hi VH A group member on Facebook seeing this map pic has asked about the post marked on the map at the rear of the Banjo no 6 off St Giles Ave, as a lad his Uncle lived there and was told by him whilst digging in his rear garden he exposed a large post/stone with St Giles Abbey engraved on it, being a large hole he backfilled it and he believes it would possibly be still there. His question is have you any information of a local St Giles Abbey we know of the one in Rainham was there one closer. Regards Malcolm Hannan.
Not seen him before
This was passed to me by a family member, do you have one in the archives ?
Lots of fun with the Spooky Autumn Craft box. ###
Hi I've ordered an art box. Do I have to collect the day I've put? And also do I need to print my receipt or can I show it on my phone? X
Do you have any prints of Eastbury House that I can purchase ?
Would this song be any use to you with your 100 anniversary celebrations ( with or without the pictures ?
Hi are you open yet?
Thanks so much for awarding my daughter the winner of the kids competition She was very pleased and proud of her flag 😁😁😁
Hi Valence house; Happy birthday. In light of the current BLM movement, truths & stories being shared, I wondered if Valence house might have any such stories they could share?