Valentines Mansion - Ilford, Essex

This 17th century Mansion in what is now a suburb of East London has been derelict since the mid 1990's and is currently undergoing a process of architectural investigation and restoration is due to start in July 2007 to restore it to its original appearance.

Built during the reign of George I, it displays many features of the Regency period including flamboyant fireplaces, painted glass and wall paneling. Situated within 175 acres of parkland and gardens it went through several owners who added their own touches. Graffiti and figures on the exposed wall paneling show redecoration or additions of the 1720's and 1809. Later the second floor servants quarters were extensively remodeled to provide for guest rooms and a caretakers 'flat', and at the same time the roof was remodeled. Many Victorian features also survive. The cellar contains the original wine and food stores and the Kitchen and Dairy wing appears as an 'add on'.

In the 20th Century the Urban Borough of Ilford acquired Valentines Mansion and it was used to house Belgian refugees during the First World War. In the 1920's it became the boroughs health department and vaccinations and dentistry were practiced. In 1964 it came under the control of the London Borough of Redbridge and was used as their Housing Department Offices until closure in 1993.

Detailed history of the Mansion can be found on its website at Valentines Mansion Home Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aim:

To investigate reports of paranormal activity at Valentines Mansion.

Background:
There are very few reports available in any sources known to the Ghost Connections Team. However it was known that commercial events of Paranormal Investigations take place at Valentines Mansion and include accounts of events which Ghost Connections have failed to currently verify. In the light of these reports the team decided to investigate for themselves if the mansion is subject to any of the alleged phenomena.

Apparatus:

Video camera-
Sony DCR HC-24E with night vision
Sony DCR-HC19 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC30E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Samsung VP-D351 with night vision

Digital Camera-
Fuji 4900 Finepix
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Fuji Fine Pix S5000
Nikon Coolpix 3100

Voice recorder -
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20


Team:

Kim
Ian
Paddy
Dave

Method:
Using visual and scientific methods combined with spiritual information investigate the background to alleged paranormal phenomena at this venue.

Investigation:

The team arrived at the locked main gates and after making a call the gates were unlocked by security and locked behind the team. We had a 3 storey 17th Century mansion to the four of us for the whole night. Would psychology play a part in tonight's investigation? A derelict house. Locked in the grounds. Only the on duty security in the building. Collapsed ceilings. Broken floorboards. Inoperative lights. Temperamental electricity supply. Shuttered windows obscuring the outside world. Narrow Corridors. Would these play a factor in what was to come?


The weather was dry but there was an intermittent wind with strong gusts which would cause the trees to rattle against the building, the aged sash windows to rattle along with their fitted internal shutters, and there were gaping holes around the frames in some places. The heating was by oil filled and electric radiators which appeared to be on different settings in different rooms which would make it appear that some rooms were substantially colder than others.

The team set up 'base' in the south facing Dining Room situated directly off the entrance hall. All equipment was checked and then a 'walkaround' took place from the ground floor up noting varying temperatures and lighting levels. Photographs were taken whilst Ian recorded this on video. Dave recorded most of the 'walkaround' on voice recorder. At this stage the wind was not as strong as it would turn out to be and very little noise was heard anywhere. Kim feels as if her hair is pulled on the second floor and Ian remarks that he feels sick there. On this floor Ian found a door which seemed to shut slowly with a terrifying squeal of wood on wood until it was established that it took a long time to close and Kim and Dave had left that room and moved to one further down the corridor in the time that it took Ian to get there. This would be born in mind for later but no others like this were found on this level. Most doors in the building were easily shut or left open as we found them. Nothing was inadvertently moved by the team.

Upon regrouping and preparing for the first investigation site the team were in the Dining Room when a loud bang was heard by all from the Billiard Room next door. Security was still in view in the entrance hall and no one else was in the building.

Without any due cause the team chose to begin on the second floor and work their way down. Perhaps this was due to the smaller size of rooms or the narrow corridor. We are not sure but here we started. A feeling of apprehension is present.

The team began by sitting at intervals in the corridor. Paddy and Dave took the east end, Kim the top of the stairs and Ian the west end. During this time the wind picked up and could be heard clearly when gusting outside. Dave alerted Paddy to a sound coming intermittently from Room 19. This sound was likened to a small electric motor or dentists drill. Paddy then heard the same noise and Room 19 was investigated.

Kim and Ian, meanwhile, had been hearing intermittent banging from the area of Room 17. This appeared to not be relative to the wind and also appeared to be repeated on command. After an initial investigation of the room by Kim its was decided to make that a room for a séance to try to generate the same sounds by increasing the energies present. Kim feels light touches to her forehead here and it is as though there are cobwebs. Kim had placed some bells near them. No movement or sound was noticed. Ian then begins to feel apprehensive and Kim feels a sensation of finger running through her hair.

Typically movements are reported on stair cases so the top landing on these centre stairs would be used as a location for a séance as well. During this Ian felt very light headed and a break was taken before resuming in this location.

All experiments on this floor would be video and audio recorded for later analysis.

Having felt we had exhausted the top floor and feeling a little light headed a break was called and plans for the next location discussed.

Again the focus of energies on staircases theory came into play backed up by reports alluding to activity on the main staircase. Being of such a size it would have been remiss to have not spent some time here. Spacing ourselves at intervals up the stairs we could cover all the rise and the first floor landing. After some time here and nothing to report it was decided that it was time to tackle the ground floor.


It is often that when using one room as a base for the night we do not actually investigate that room during the night. With this in mind we decided to attempt a glass divination experiment which was filmed and audio recorded in the Dining Room. All four of the team waited patiently for some movement in the glass but none was forthcoming and eventually this was abandoned. However during the experiment a load bang was heard about 2 feet from the team in the area of an electric oil filled radiator.

The team then relocated to the Kitchen area. This was found to be extremely cold and without heating. Some time was spent in this area and the only sounds were small taps and scratches from the ceiling above the range area where the kitchen joins the main house.

The team then moved to the cellar area which was over heated! The team spent some time here feeling totally comfortable and indeed having trouble remaining awake. Nothing of note was recorded here.

After a good attempt at staying awake the team returned to the Dining Room and packed up their equipment and left Valentines to its staff and memories.

 

Results

The loud bang heard from the Dining Room and appearing to come from the Billiard Room remains unidentified. The team immediately went into the Billiard Room and through into the Breakfast Room. No cause was found. The Billiard Room contains the only remaining wall cabinets in the house and these have glass paneled doors. The downstairs rooms including these are all fitted with internal window shutters of a folding type which were secured shut. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that one or other of these fitments combined with the intermittent wind may have lead to the loud bang we heard. What we can say is that it was not heard again during our stay even though the gusts of wind outside increased in strength.

The investigation into the noise heard by Dave and Paddy from Room 19 lead them to notice that although there was nothing in the room capable of making the noise there were 'anti-bird' devices comprised of stiff wire mounted at angles from a wooden base loose on the outside window sills to prevent pigeons from roosting. These were loose and the wires did have a degree of flexibility in the wind. It is possible that this flexibility caused them to vibrate and produce the noise heard.

Kim's feeling of hair being pulled on the second floor and then light touches like cobwebs occurred in areas where there were no hanging objects or cobwebs. This cannot be explained. There is again no explanation for the thought that fingers were being run through Kim's hair.

The investigation into the noise heard by Kim and Ian revealed a sash window that was ajar and when forcibly rattled made a similar noise. It is believed that the wind was responsible for causing the noise and after securing the window no repetition of it was heard. A séance in the immediate area of the door did not result in a re-occurrence of the sound.

A study of the area of the bang in the Dining Room failed to find a source although if a guess at a cause was made it sounded as though something banged on a metal object. Contenders were the radiator itself or a wall mounted electrical junction box which was inoperative. No loose objects were found nearby and nothing was touching the two likely sources. Its cause remains unexplained.

The taps and scratching in the Kitchen came from the single story roof space. When the risk assessment was completed prior to this date a squirrel was observed through a hole in the ceiling here. It is felt these noises heard by the team on this occasion were animal in nature. It was also observed that several pigeons were roosting on north facing window ledges and may also have been responsible.

Possible cause for scartching noises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our stay a certain amount of information was forthcoming to the team of a clairvoyant nature. As Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations we do not publish such observations, however, this information is held on a separate database and may prove interesting when compared to other peoples experiences. Should you wish to discuss this information please email us.

Camcorder footage and voice recorders were later examined and nothing of note was found.

Conclusions
There was no audible or visual phenomena recorded on video or audio recordings As previously commented the weather conditions and general appearance of the building did not assist in the establishing of the noises and bangs being anything other than naturally created phenomena. No objects were moved on request. No lights or apparitions were seen.

Valentines Mansion has a certain atmosphere which may be due to its derelict nature. A visit post restoration may reveal entirely different feelings and may also establish a theory in regard to surroundings influencing susceptibility.

Thanks
Ghost Connections would like to thank Nigel Burch and the staff and security for their support and we wish them well with the imminent restoration. We would hope at some point to be able to return to Valentines Mansion and conduct a similar investigation in restored 17th century surroundings.

 

Valentines 1774

 

 

 

 

2004/2007 Ghost Connections UK