Located 11.5 miles from Charing Cross and 9.5 miles from central London, Dagenham is a large suburb based in east London. The area has now been included as a part of Greater London and is primarily a residential area. There have been reports of a decline in industrial activity including the closure of Ford Dagenham, a major automotive factory.
Dagenham was once home to many affluent manors but only one survives today. Valence House dates back to the 13th century, surrounded by its own moat. The house has now been converted in to a local museum which displays an array of artefacts and archives from the people of Barking and Dagenham. In addition, there is a collection of mementoes, family papers and portraits of the Fanshawe family, who lived in an adjacent manor house. The Fanshawe family rose to prominence with nine generations serving as Remembrancer to the Crown, including Queen Elizabeth I.