Valence House Museum
Valence House has now re-opened to the public. For information about how the site is Covid secure and the latest opening hours visit the Valence House website.
Valence House Museum is the only surviving manor house in Dagenham. It dates back to medieval times, is still partially surrounded by a moat and has a collection of nearly 30,000 items. Admission is free and the Guardian voted it as one of the 50 best free things to do in London!
Exciting galleries tell the story of Barking and Dagenham and its people throughout the ages.
Highlights on display include the Dagenham Idol, (on loan from Colchester and Ipswich Museum) whalebones believed to be from the lower jaw of a Common Greenland Whale and the Fanshawe family portraits, which are one of the best collections of gentry portraits in the Britain.
As well as exploring the museum, you can unwind in their tranquil gardens which include a herb garden and a World War Two ‘Dig for Victory’ garden, which includes a replica Anderson Shelter, enjoy some tasty treats at their Oasis cafe and find out more about the places and people of Barking and Dagenham at the Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre.
You can also take part in a wide range of events for all ages, from arts and crafts to archaeology, murder mystery evenings and more!
Pop in for a quick cuppa, spend some time over a leisurely lunch or enjoy tea, cake, and conversation with friends! You can also enjoy the nice weather by taking your treats to the walled herb garden or on the tea terrace.
The tearoom serves freshly prepared hot or cold dishes and a selection of delicious homemade cakes. Their menu also changes seasonally so guests can enjoy their themed 'food in focus' items each month which celebrate the history of Barking and Dagenham through food.
Oasis tearoom is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Groups visiting can call ahead to book on
Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre
In the archive collection you can look through minute books, departmental records and plans of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and its predecessor authorities dating back to 1558. You can also search through papers, diaries photographs and films relating to local organisations, businesses, schools, charities, non-conformist churches, families and individuals with connections to Barking and Dagenham.
In the local studies collection you can look through books, newspapers and maps primarily concerning the history of Barking and Dagenham, as well as Essex and London.
You can also use Ancestry Library Edition and Find My Past Community Edition for free on their computers.