Valence House

East London

Property Description

Valence House is an old manor house in Becontree, Dagenham. It is the last survivor of Dagenham’s five manor houses. Whilst the Becontree estate of many miles of houses cropped up almost entirely as a ‘homes for heroes’ housing scheme for Great War veterans and their families in the 1920s, the area was once originally quaint farmland and countryside. Valence House is one of the only relics from this time, and it details Barking and Dagenham’s contrasting history inside. Entry is free and it is actually quite a sizeable museum with some great displays on all kinds of subjects. One of the most fascinating displays inside is the Dagenham Idol; Europe’s oldest representation of a human figure. Found in 1922, it was carbon dated to around 2250 BC! It is quite surprising that considering how old it is, its stick-man form and oversized ovular eyes give it the impression of a modern cartoon figure. It is well worth seeing. Another interesting item on the Valence grounds is a Holm Oak tree which is one of the Great Trees of London, dating back to sometime probably in the 1800s. Whilst the current Valence House is a c.17th Century building with later modifications, the 1290 moat from an older house on the site still exists as the park lake. The original field boundaries around the manor can still be seen where the tree line bisects Valence Park.

Sources:

http://www.londongardensonline.org.uk/gardens-online-record.php?ID=BAD024#

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagenham_idol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valence_House_Museum

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