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Dagenham museum

More To Dagenham than cars.
Dagenham is to many people the home of Ford production and that's about it. Its fair to say this is not a town that now or ever got confused with say; Prague, its largely a functional town not a pretty one. But it is resident to one of the finest museums of the suburbs we have ever reported in.
How this treasure has managed to go so unreported or spoken about is a wonder given what it exhibits.
Based in the historic home of "Valance house" the tour starts with a brief history of the house its self, and how this structure came to be in the councils ownership, basically a long story involving a French king (hence the name Valance) and the succession of forced marriages that landed it in, as usual, the hands of people totally unearned of such a fine bit of real-estate.
The museum then proceeds to give a concise but comprehensive break-down of the areas history detailing its birth and development in farming and fishing to modern day life, but its presented so well and with so many interesting details that you never knew that you will be surprised how special this area is and how you managed to not know such facts. For example, did you know that Gandhi stayed in Dagenham for some months many years ago whilst attending a political conference on India? Did you know that Dagenham used to have a whaling industry? But its not just these details that are so diverting, its things like learning that this was once a popular holiday location to the London's working class? The naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace once lived here (he was friends with Charles Darwin and developed the earliest theories on evolution that Darwin then expanded on) Things like this leave you coming away with a new found admiration for dear old Dagenham, and a pang of guilt that you ever thought such negative sentiments about it in the first place.
This is; for the time of year; the best reason we have found to get off the couch and visit something. It even has a perfectly manicured garden area to take in the crisp winter air and a well appointed play area in its car park for kids.

Postcode: RM8 3HT
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