Shakespeare in Redbridge

What does Shakespeare mean to the community of people who make up the Borough of Redbridge? Visit the latest exhibition at Valentines Mansion to find out. Items loaned by members of the local community make up this special exhibition, to commemorate 400 years since the death of the great poet, playwright and actor.

20160722_110137The collection features books, memorabilia, programmes and photographs from productions ranging from documentation of a member of a Shakespeare’s company who danced through Ilford in 1600, to photographs of a school production of West Side Story, a musical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

The exhibition centres on a signed copy of a book which was written and inscribed by Clement Ingleby, previous resident of Valentines Mansion. Shakespeare’s Bones, which was written in 1882, deals with the ethics of digging up Shakespeare’s grave, and was spotted for sale recently on Ebay by curator and Valentines Mansion studio artist Julian Walker. Also on display is a telescope owned by Clement Ingelby in the 1840s. The telescope was kindly donated by a family member of Mr Ingleby to Redbridge Museum.

Shakepeares BonesShakespeare in Redbridge is one of two free exhibitions showing every Sunday – Wednesday at Valentines during August. This year’s studio artists’ exhibition also celebrates the memory of Shakespeare through glasswork, paintings, ceramics, drawings and more.

Sunday – Wednesday until 31 August
Free entry

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Here comes the (local) honey!

Pick up a jar of delicious raw honey, produced locally in Ray Park, on your next visit to Valentines Mansion.

Close up view of the working bees on honey cells

As part of the special edible network project led by the Redbridge Nature Conservation Team, the 18th century walled garden at Ray Park in Woodford Green is home to a number of busy bees that collect nectar and pollen from the ample tree blossoms and wild flowers. The result is a gorgeous, distinctive variety of raw honey, harvested by hand, filtered and jarred simply as it is, with nothing added or removed.

Mansion & Gardens for Hardip (67)
Not only is the sweet stuff great for the taste buds, it is also good for you! Honey naturally contains nutrients and enzymes that have a variety of health benefits and medical uses, but much of the honey found in shops has been processed and this unfortunately destroys much of the beneficial antioxidants and bacteria.

Raw honey, the type available to purchase from Valentines Mansion, offers many health benefits for the immune system, the heart and to seasonal allergies such as hayfever. Find out more on the health benefits of raw honey here.

698183723f04504eb259b34a55f6205aSo next time you visit the Mansion, be sure to stop by our Gift Shop for a jar of delicious locally produced honey to enjoy back at home. It goes perfectly with our new unique blends of Valentines Tea – also available to buy in our gift shop.

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Take Tea the Valentines Way – New & Exclusive

Back in 1700’s, when the mansion would have been home to Sir Charles Raymond, drinking tea would have been a popular passtime for the residents and their guests.

Sir Charles, owner of Valentines and a ships captain for the East India Company would have managed many voyages for the company, and would have brought back Chinese tea to drink within the house when he lived here between 1754 and 1788. In honour of this, we’ve worked with tea expert Mark Nicholls to blend a special Valentines Tea, as similar as possible to the tea which would have been drunk in this very house all those years ago!

IMG_3230Mark has blended two gorgeous teas, completely unique to the house.  An Afternoon Tea Blend – specially selected Assam tea, decorated with delicate cornflowers, and an aromatic Chinese Green Tea, with pretty roses giving this blend its unique flavour and taste.

The teas are beautifully packaged and are available to purchase exclusively at the Mansion.  Priced at £8.50 for the Afternoon Tea and £9.50 for the Chinese Tea, they make a wonderful souvenir of your visit to the Mansion or a great gift for family and friends.

The Mansion is open to the public on Sundays and Tuesdays between 11am – 3pm, free entry.

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It’s Time for Tea at the Mansion

Our new exhibition, The Art of Tea, opened to the public on Sunday 3 July, with hundreds of visitors eager to see the spectacular still-life photos of antique tea-ware by photographer Stuart Duff.


Through the clever use of lighting techniques and innovative technology in the art of photographic display, Stuart has breathed life into a collection of previously unseen and exquisite valuable tea-ware from around the world.  So clever is the display, it gives the viewer an experience which presents the pieces in a way that is as close as possible to the real thing. Seeing is believing!

Stuart Duff Background

Stuart Duff studied photography at Blackpool and went on to work with the Lord Snowdon, Lester Bookbinder, Phil Jude and Doris Kloster.

After setting up his own studio in 1991, Stuart began working on campaigns for Saatchi & Saatchi such as Silk Cut, British Airways, Courvoisier and Asprey & Gerrards.  Many other high-profile campaigns followed, including Haagan-Dazm BMW and Adidas, bringing Stuart numerous awards from D&AD and the Creative Circle.  At the same time, Staurt was also producing award winning work for Vogue, Tatler, GQ, Harpers & Queen and front covers of The Sunday Times Magazine.

The Shoot

Stuart was commissioned to photograph this private collection in November 2012 and took 11,350 photographs of 1,250 pieces at various times between then and August 2014.

He then specifically designed and commissioned a large perspex dome in order to light the pieces and give consistency to the body of work and which also allowed him to control the contrast and graduations of light, something which was of particular importance to the silver and gold pieces.

No retouching was carried out on the final photographs in order to retain the authenticity of each piece.

Private View

The Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Gurdial Bhambra was among those who attended a private view of the collection on Friday 1 July, and was most impressed with the work. Guests met the photographer and marveled over his work, whilst sampling our very own unique Valentines Tea – two special blends created just for us and available to buy in our gift shop!


20160701_180234 20160701_180351The exhibition is open to the public until Sunday 31 July and is complimented by a number of tea themed events ranging from tastings and cream teas to a talk on tea and how it would have been enjoyed by previous residents of the Mansion.

For more information, visit

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Coffee & Cream Wins the Prize!

And the winner is…..Francesca (aged 7 and a half)!

Lucky Francesca correctly ticked ‘Coffee & Cream’ in our recent “Guess the Names’ competition and excitedly came in to pick up her runner-up prize. Francesca was super thrilled with her fabulous 57-piece art case from Ryman Stationery of Ilford, complete with a sketch book to get her started!

Well done Francesca! And if you would like to visit our furry new friends, head for the kitchen garden, opposite the Gardener’s Cottage Cafe. Open every day from 11am.

IMG_34093-siberian-chipmunkThe first prize was lunch for 4 in our lovely Gardener’s Cottage Cafe.

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Fancy a Cuppa?

Are you a tea-lover? If so, you’re in for a treat at Valentines Mansion! The whole month of July will be dedicated to the nations’ favourite beverage, with a special exhibition, tea talks, cream teas and even a series of masterclasses giving you the chance to create your unique blend of tea.

The Art of Tea

Valentines Mansion have teamed up with renowned still life photographer Stuart Duff to bring you a special photographic exhibition.  Through the use of innovative lighting techniques and new technology in the art of photographic display, Stuart has breathed life into a collection of previously unseen exquisite, rare and valuable antique teaware, giving the viewer an experience which presents these pieces in a way that is as close as possible to the real thing.  Intrigued?  Come and take a look for yourself, this exhibition will be open to the public in The Gallery from Sunday 3 July – Sunday 30 July with free entry – please visit for opening times during this period.

Stuart Duff Photographic Exhibition

The Fine Art of Tasting Tea

Not sure of your Long Jing’s from your Darjeeling’s?  Why not attend a tea master class with Mark Nicholls as part of Valentine Mansion’s tea extravaganza?  Tea Expert Mark has worked with tea from around the world with fine tea, blending and tasting, appreciating and selling. In this master-class session, you will have the chance to learn a brief history of tea and how it became the UK’s national drink.  You will also have the chance to become a tea taster for yourself, tasting the main types of tea from white to Pu-erh and of course, learn how best to prepare the perfect cuppa before making your own unique blend at the end. There are three masterclasses to choose from (Sundays 3rd, 10th and 24th July) priced at £25 per person.  Pre-booking is essential for each as spaces are strictly limited with only fifteen participants per class. Find out more here

Tea Masterclass

Valentines Cream Tea

The celebration of tea during this month wouldn’t be the same without a scrumptious cream tea at the lovely Mansion!  Choose from one of four dates (or all four if you fancy it!) and enjoy a traditional English cream tea accompanied by unique green and black teas, specially blended for Valentines. With only ten spaces for each sitting, this is the perfect afternoon out for you and a group of friends.  Pre-booking is essential and full details can be found on the Valentines Mansion web site.  £8.50 per person, 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th July.  Find out more and book here

For a full list of events coming up at Valentines Mansion please visit the web site






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Guess the Names & Win

Valentines Mansion & Gardens is celebrating the arrival of its newest residents, two Siberian Chipmunks with a special competition for kids. Simply guess their names and you could win one of two fantastic prizes!

3-siberian-chipmunk 06c7da4e805062e4b5bd7249558bf15b
The first prize is an absolute treat! The winner can enjoy lunch (for four) in the Gardener’s Cottage Café, situated in the Walled Kitchen Garden (just by the chipmunks!). The café offers some delicious lunch time treats, from soups and sandwiches, to Paninis and jacket potatoes, and not forgetting the yummy ice-creams and cakes.

The second prize is a spectacular 57-piece art case from Ryman the Stationer, packed with watercolour paints, oil pastels, paint pallets and many more – all presented in a stylish carry case, plus a sketch pad to get you started!
To enter, simply visit the Mansion or Gardener’s Cottage Café and complete the entry form. A winner and runner up will be picked at random on Sunday 19 June.

Closing date for entries is Sunday 12 June.

Entry Rules
1. This competition is open to under 18’s only
2. Entry fee 50p. One entry per person.
3. Entries must be made in person at Valentines Mansion or Gardeners Cottage Cafe, on the official entry slips. The Mansion is open on Tuesdays & Sundays (11am-3pm, and Mondays & Wednesdays during the school holidays (11am-3pm). The Café is open everyday from 10am.
4. First prize is lunch for a family of four at the Valentines Mansion & Gardens Gardener’s Cottage Café, up to the value of £40. The winner will be given a voucher, redeemable at the café. The voucher cannot be exchanged for cash and no change will be given for value not spent.
5. Runner up prize: Ryman Wooden 57 piece Art Case & Sketch Pad.
6. Closing date for entries is Sunday 12 June. Winners will be announced on Sunday 19 June at the Valentines Mansion Father’s Day event, Dad’s & Lads.
7. Winners (first and runner up) will be picked at random from all the correct entries received.

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A unique supperclub in a unique venue

The supperclub rage is sweeping across the country, and it’s heading your way very soon. These unique dining experiences mix fine food and interesting themes and provide a great way socializing with like-minded foodies over a delicious meal.

These ticketed dining experiences started off with people holding special dinners in their own home, but have evolved to interesting venues such as unused churches, bell towers, and even train carriages, with celebrated chefs also joining in the craze! Also known as Closed Door Restaurants, a Supperclub is the next best thing to a restaurant dining experience.

Valentines Mansion, a grade 11* listed historic house in Ilford, Essex, has teamed up with a Michelin trained chef to bring you a special dinner inspired by the tradition of perfume.

Mansion FrontcompressedDrawing RoomWalled GardensOdors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath in our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it” Patrick Suskind, PERFUME.

That Hungry Chef, Pratap Chahal has created a menu inspired by and using traditional perfume ingredients from the gardens at Valentines to create an edible scent. Just like a perfume, the dinner is divided into a top, middle and bottom note with each perfume revealing itself either immediately, in 15 minutes or right at the end of the meal. Each course has a delicate balance of perfume allowing you to taste new and exciting flavours without being overpowering.

DSC0306 index PERFUME FOOD 1-s PERFUME FOOD 2-sWhen Valentine’s Mansion approached us about the possibility of collaborating for an evening of fine dining, I jumped at the chance of cooking in such a historic venue with a fabulous history. Their stunning gardens will also be providing a lot of the ingredients for the dinner which is inspired by the tradition of perfume making as I’ll be using historic and natural perfume ingredients to create a scent that you eat as well as smell. Being one of my signature cooking styles, I wanted to create an Edible Scent that reflected the mansion, gardens and, of course, the fleeting English summer.” comments Pratap.

On arrival, guests will enjoyed a welcome drink of Gin, Elderflower & Litsea Cubeba, an evergreen shrub with a sweet citrus flavour. For the main course, guests will have their senses tantalised with a selection of scents and flavours including lavender, tobacco, and rose geranium. The dessert course is a dream come true for chocolate lovers! Pratap has cleverly designed a mouth-watering chocolate tartlet combining the aromatic flavour of FrankincenseThe full menu can be found here 

Guests have the option of choosing the wine flight option and enjoying a glass of with each course, carefully selected and perfectly paired to compliment the flavours of each dish. The option of purchasing bottles is also available.

Perfume: An Edible Scent Supperclub will take place at Valentines Mansion on Friday 17th June at 7pm. Prices start at £50 per head (not including drinks).


For more information on the menu and to book on-line, visit Pre-booking essential and spaces are limited.

Valentines Mansion & Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA  (Gants Hill Underground Station on the Central Line only a 5 minute walk away.  Pay & Display Car Park on site)

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Shakespeare’s Bones back in Redbridge

Whilst searching for material for the summer exhibition at Valentines Mansion, which will celebrate the life of Shakespeare in the year that marks the 400th anniversary of his death, Julian Walker, one of the Mansions’ Studio Artists made a very timely discovery! A book on the great poet, playwright and actor which was written and inscribed by Clement Ingleby, previous resident of Valentines Mansion was spotted for sale on Ebay! Julian was quick to purchase this great find, and we’re thrilled to have it back at Valentines Mansion.

Shakepeares Bones

The discovery of ‘Shakespeare’s Bones’ by Clement Ingleby is very relevant for what is happening at the moment in the four-hundredth centenary commemorations, as it deals with the ethics of opening Shakespeare’s tomb for study purposes. “Ingleby’s quest in his study was to authenticate any of the known paintings of Shakespeare from the shape of his skull, if his skull could be identified. The recent scan has shown no evidence of human remains in the tomb, reviving the debate as to whether Shakespeare was ever buried there. Given the inconclusiveness of the evidence, and the curse on opening the tomb, we are no nearer knowing what Shakespeare really looked like than Ingleby was – so his question is still with us” elaborates Julian Walker.

This copy of the book was given by Clement Ingleby to the Shakespeare Information Centre in 1883 with the inscription “With the compliments of the author S M Ingleby” and there is a real sense of its presence at Valentines completing a Shakespeare circle in this anniversary year.

Clement Ingleby moved lived at Valentines Mansion from c1860 with his wife, Sarah Ingleby, the last private owner of the Mansion and a much-loved and well respected member of the Ilford community. Although formally trained in the legal profession, his main interest was in English literature, especially dramatic literature and the works of Shakespeare. He was a Trustee of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and he took an active part in the festivities held in Birmingham in 1864 to celebrate the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth.

The book will be on display as a highlight in our ‘Shakespeare in Redbridge’ exhibition at Valentines Mansion this summer; Redbridge residents are invited to participate in the show by lending material – photographs or programmes of Shakespeare performances in the borough, Shakespeare memorabilia, or special volumes of texts – for display at Valentines Mansion during August. Please contact Valentines Mansion on 020 8708 8100 if you have anything suitable.

With thanks to the Valentines Mansion Trust for purchasing this book for Valentines Mansion & Gardens.

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Mad Hatter fun at Valentines Mansion goes down a treat!

What a brilliant day! Glorious weather and lots of excited families visited Valentines Mansion for our Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatters Tea Party on Sunday 20 March. The gardens were transformed into a magical setting for families to enjoy their picnics whilst being entertained by characters from Alice in Wonderland – queues of excited children and families were greeted by the giant caterpillar on stilts, and joined in with Alice chasing the White Rabbit around the trees. The children also had great fun entertaining the Queen of Hearts with a game of human croquet as well as giving the Mad Hatter a hand with his tea party. We were thrilled to hold this event at Valentines Mansion, which was part of the GLA’s Find Your London Festival. It was great to see visitors in their hundreds from all over London and beyond come along to Valentines Mansion, many of them for the first time and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Mansion for our upcoming events. We are so pleased with the feedback received from visitors, it was lovely to see the children and parents having such a good time, many of them had dressed up and really got into character which was brilliant!

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Other activities included:

• Arts and Crafts inside the Mansion making picnic baskets and lots of treats to put inside
• We were lucky enough to have ISS Education, the local provider of healthy school meals in Redbridge join us with some fantastic food activities – visitors had great fun making oat playing card cookies as well as caterpillar fruit sticks. The Smoothie Bike proved popular with queues of people having a go at crushing fruits and vegetables into delicious drinks.
• Face painting
• Tea Cup rides
• Giant Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter props including cakes and cookies
• Interactive theatre performance by Historical Promotions and Event Management

A big thank you to all of our volunteers for all of their hard work throughout the day!

For upcoming events at Valentines Mansion please visit

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