Valentine’s Mansion is situated barely a couple of hundred yards away from Gants Hill tube station (on the far eastern loop of the Central Line, the red line), just down Cranbrook Road South.
Eventually, yesterday (appropriately, Valentine’s Day) the place opened to the public. As you can see by the queues (above), which were constant throughout the entire day, the place proved to be a bigger attraction than anyone could have wished for.
Luckily the weather was a crisp, sunny day, so I decided to take a little stroll around the place (and, I must admit, perhaps show-up the Educator/Re-enactor/Guides somewhat) and was mightily impressed.
I suppose I should come to expect it now, but I kept getting stopped (inevitably) and being asked if people could take my photograph - some of them I have included here. There was one moment when a lady said "Oh, I do like your costume"....
....."Costume? COSTUME?", I replied. "Madam, this is my everday wear!". I hope I didn't offend her too much.
The house was originally built about 1696, the walled garden was created in 1720 and housed various private residents until 1906. It was bought by the Council in 1912.
For the past 15 years it lay empty and for many years had remained derelict until eventually, about five years ago the local community got together with Redbridge Council and started to restore it to its former glories. Things really kicked in a few years back when they managed to secure a Lottery Grant.
Check out the website for the mansion:
And join the Friends of Valentines Mansion:
All the information you could wish for are in these sites. And don’t just visit the Mansion itself (on three floors, if you include the Artists Studios on the top floor - do visit them) try strolling around the three different gardens there too.
The bulk of the photos were taken by “Ham”. Check his page out:
[16th February: I've just checked out his page and he's posted up a piece about Me! under the banner "Ordinary Londoners No.20". Ho-hum, what a merry life!]