About Us

We are the “Friends Of Valentines Mansion”. Established in 2000. we support and assist in the preservation and improvement of the Mansion for the benefit of the public and organise activities for the promotion of its use.

In the year 2000 Valentines Mansion – a handsome late 17th century house – faced an uncertain future. It had been used as Council offices for many years, but since 1993 had been standing empty, neglected and falling into decay. Nobody knew what to do with it, but when a plan was revealed to lease it to a brewery company to turn it into a pub, local residents protested and the plan was dropped. The community wanted to see the Mansion restored and open to the public.

The Friends of Valentines Mansion was formed in 2000 with two principal objectives: to raise awareness of the Mansion and its potential to the local community, and to raise funds for restoration projects. It was clear that to get the support of the building’s owner, the London Borough of Redbridge, and obtain a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it was vital to demonstrate that the community backed the plan.

Amongst other ways of supporting the Mansion, the “Friends” continue to raise funds to enhance the house and the experience of the people who visit. Our current project involves the Raymond Room. You can read our Constitution here and much more about the History of the Friends on this site.

Please take a few moments to browse our site. We always welcome new members. We enjoy many activities such as various entertaining evenings together in the House, outings to places of interest, a monthly coffee meet up in the Gardener’s Cottage Cafe, regular newsletters and many of us volunteer in the Mansion on Open Days and at events throughout the year. If you would like to join us or find out more about our organisation please follow the appropriate links.

Many individuals, groups and organisations have been and are still involved with Valentines Mansion and Park.

The owners are the London Borough of Redbridge. Their website about Valentines Mansion and Gardens can be found at www.valentinesmansion.com

For information on facilities and rooms for hire at Valentines Mansion, contact +44 (0) 8708 8100 or email hiringvalentines@visionrcl.org.uk.

Two other locally based groups who are or have been associated with Valentines Mansion and Park are:

Valentines Mansion Trust. The origins of the Valentines Mansion Trust can be traced back to 1999 when a Citizens’ Jury recommended that a small group of people in company with Redbridge Council should be appointed to draw up a plan for Heritage Lottery Funding to restore and open the Mansion to the public. The first plan was rejected by HLF, but a second more detailed plan drawn up by Redbridge Council was successful and an award of nearly £2 million was granted towards the cost of restoration.

The Trust organised a number of successful fund raising evenings before the Friends of Valentines Mansion, became the senior representative of the community. Money raised by the Trust has been spent on the purchase of a lithograph depicting a Hogarth painting, and two four-figure contributions to the Victorian kitchen and more recently the Dovecote.

The main purpose of the Trust now is, together with the Friends, to ensure the Mansion is kept in good order and is open to the public. It continues to have a special interest in educational visits and programmes for our schools as well as representing the public’s interests on the Valentines Advisory Group.

Valentines Park Conservationists. The Valentines Park Conservationists worked with the Friends and the London Borough of Redbridge on the park’s restoration and wound-up in September 2009 when this work was finished.

Other organisations with connections to Valentines include:

Heritage Lottery Fund who made a grant of nearly £2 million towards the cost of the extensive restoration of Valentines Mansion and gardens.

English Heritage. Valentines Mansion is just one of 21 buildings in Redbridge listed by English Heritage. Photographs of these buildings can be found on Images of England. The most up to date listing is at https://historicengland.org.uk/

The Hospital Chapel of St Mary the Virgin and St Thomas of Canterbury, Ilford, also known as Ilford Hospital Chapel situated on Ilford Hill in Ilford. It is an ancient charitable foundation dating from about 1140, and is the oldest building in the London Borough of Redbridge. Since 1954 it has been protected as a Grade II* listed building .

We would like to thank the following people and organisations for their help in building our website:

Cincinnati Art Museum who gave us permission to reproduce Southwark Fair

Landuse Consultants for permission to use the maps of Valentines Park

Local Studies and Museum Services (London Borough of Redbridge) for assistance and permission to reproduce photographs of Valentines Mansion

Royal Bank of Scotland for permission to use the picture of Sir Charles Raymond

Michael Balfour for permission to quote from Ellen Buxton’s diaries