Back in the seventeenth century, Ilford was more of a rural retreat from London and less of a town and suburb. That's when Valentine's Mansion was built. It was lived in until 1906, when Mrs Ingleby died (after whom the Ingleby singers were named) and left her house to the council. It was used for motley council purposes until the mid-90s. Now, thanks to Lottery money, the house and grounds have been beautifully restored, a mixed-period historic house designed for history lessons, for the community (it's hirable), and to support the arts (what was once servant's quarters are now artists studios). The gardens are austere mid-winter, but the ponds looked grand. It opened for the first time to the public, newly restored, today.
More photos of the grounds soon. For now, here's a view from the first floor, from what's now the shop, out over the Georgian portico to the grounds beyond, with a piece of stained glass made by one of the artists upstairs.