Valence House Museum
Valence House Museum is the only surviving example of the five manor houses of Dagenham. The timber framed museum building, partially surrounded by a moat, is situated in Valence Park off Becontree Avenue, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, London, England. The museum contains permanent exhibitions on history and life in Barking and Dagenham, including displays from the 1945 Becontree Estate. It hosts regular special events for the public and school parties. The borough local history archive is located in the building, and includes many local family history resources. Valence House Museum, archives and local studies library closed on 22 December 2007 for a period of extensive refurbishment, partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It reopened in June 2010 and a few days later a plaque was unveiled to mark the funding. The refurbishment included a new purpose built archive and local studies centre. The building was Grade II* listed in 1954. The surrounding park of 27.82 acres (0.11 km 2), has been created from the former Valence House estate, and was purchased by Dagenham Urban District Council from the London County Council in 1926.

A house was first established on this site in the 13th century, owned by Robert Dynes in 1280. Later tenants of the estate are commemorated in the road names surrounding the park. The name of the house derives from 14th century tenants, Agnes de Valence and her brother Aylmer, Earl of Pembroke, who came from a wealthy family in the French province of Valence, the family moving here when their uncle became king. The estate passed into the ownership of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor in 1475, and remained in their ownership until 1867, when it passed to the Church Commissioners. In 1921, the London County Council purchased the building and estate to develop the Becontree Estate. Dagenham Urban District Council acquired the premises in 1928 as council chambers. Valence House served as the authority's town hall until 1937, when the Civic Centre was completed. The house became the library headquarters of the borough. The house is now a museum, and houses the Borough Archives and Local Studies Library in a new building.


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