Dagenham does the time warp at Valence House history festival
PUBLISHED: 17:25 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:30 30 May 2018
Ready the cannon! The borough's Summer of Festivals went off with a bang over the bank holiday weekend.
About 2,400 visitors travelled back in time for the Valence Time Tunnel, which ran from 11am on Saturday to 5pm Sunday.
The live history extravaganza in Valence House featured medieval archers, two special royal guests and lessons on keeping the homes fires burning with the Second World War Home Guard.
“It was a great day out for all the family as they got the chance to learn about different chapters in our history and the opportunity to see a number of different displays,” said Cllr Saima Ashraf, deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council.
Activities at the two-day in Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, the first of the council’s summer calendar, covered 4,000 years of human history.
Starting in pre-historic times, students from Southampton University showed off their artwork as they designed cave essentials such as a dugout canoe. Made in just under a fortnight, the vessel was strong enough to carry one of them across the manor house’s lake.
They also carried a replica of an idol contained within the museum, one of the oldest artworks in the UK.
Elsewhere, Roman soldiers battled to distant booms from a gunpowder cannon. A stone-age shaman kept watch over two special guests, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, both of whom behaved impeccably with nary a chopping block in sight.
Archery enthusiast Martin wowed crowds, launching 10 arrows in just 50 seconds.
“It was my pleasure to be at Valence House to present Valence Time Tunnel and a journey through the ages, from the Stone Age right through to the Second World War,” said Ian Pycroft, owner of history reenactors Black Knight Historical.
“There were a number of historical characters and it was a superb day out for all the family.”
Barking Folk, One Borough and Roundhouse are among the big festivals hitting the borough in the coming weeks.
Those reluctant to rejoin the era of Snapchat and revenge porn can celebrate London History Day at Eastbury Manor House tomorrow.
You can take a costumed tour of the Tudor manor and watch an abridged live performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for free.