2010 Annual General Meeting
57th Annual General Meeting of the Friends took place at Valence House
Museum, Archives and Local Studies Centre, Dagenham, Essex, on Saturday
31st July. Members enjoyed a very successful afternoon, many travelling
quite a distance to attend.
Our President, Lord Petre, chaired the business meeting. All Officers
were re-elected and there are no changes to the committee. It is hoped
to publish the report from the Archive Services Manager in a future
edition of the Newsletter.
Guided tours of the new facilities and refurbished museum followed,
given the limited time we could only have a taster of what was on
offer. Many people agreed that a second visit would be needed to fully
appreciate all the displays in the museum, and many hours could be
spent searching the local studies material. The day finished with a
delicious afternoon tea. Many thanks to all the staff at Valence House
that made us so welcome.
Valence House officially reopened its doors on the 26 June after being
closed since December 2007. The whole site has undergone a major
redevelopment programme funded by the London Borough of Barking and
Dagenham, and the Heritage Lottery Fund. A house has stood on the site
since the 13th century, the present house dating from the 15th century,
a Grade II* listed moated, timber framed building. It is the only
surviving manor house in the Dagenham area.
New galleries contain an impressive array of artefacts, including the
original Dagenham Idol dated 2250 BC, one of the earliest known
representations of a human form, on loan from Colchester Museum. Other
areas include an archaeology gallery, displays on Barking Abbey, social
history in the area, a temporary exhibition gallery, a cinema room
dedicated to local film archive, and a room exhibiting the renowned
A new single storey building houses the archives and local studies
centre. The run down council depot which once stood on this spot has
been swept away to create the new centre, and open up another part of
the moat that surrounds the site. The centre provides a magnificent new
research facility, local studies library, education room, café
and shop area.
2011 Annual General Meeting
This year our AGM will take place at the Queens Hall, Halstead
on Saturday 30th July 2011.
Halstead, situated on the River Colne, is well known for its
industrial history. The industries have now mainly gone, but many
associated buildings remain, including Townsford Mill, seen above.
Built as a water powered corn mill in the late 18th century, converted
for weaving by Samuel Courtauld in 1825. The building now houses
an antiques centre and restaurant.