Valence House Museum is the only remaining manor house in Dagenham. It was first constructed in medieval times and the building is still partially surrounded by a moat. It was named after the widowed Agnes de Valence moved here in 1291. She was related to the Royal Family via her grandmother, the wife of King John.
For a time the house was home to the local town hall, before becoming the library’s headquarters, but the Borough Archives and Local Studies Library are now housed in a new building. The Local Studies Library allows you to trace your family history or learn more about the area’s past thanks to maps, photographs, newspapers and trade directories.
The museum’s collection includes items from Barking and Dagenham’s past, archaeological relics, the Chadwell Heath whalebones gallery, the Fanshawe family portraits and a cinema room showing archive footage of the local area.
Aside from browsing the collections within, visitors can stroll around the formal gardens, which also boast a herb garden; events are occasionally hosted here in the summertime.
There is a café and shop on the premises. Valence House Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.