Great British Bake Off’s ‘perfect’ Ilford home

Residents have hailed the success of a popular BBC television bakery series filmed around an historic house.

Last week Essex grandmother Jo Wheatley, 41, was named winner of The Great British Bake Off, the series that had won the heart of many cake-lovers across the country.

The series used 17th century Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford, as its backdrop as contestants battled it out to see who could make the best scones, tarts and pastries. It attracted 5m viewers for the final on Tuesday of last week.

Georgina Green, from the Friends of Valentines Mansions, said: “I have watched most of it and thought it was really good.

“The location really really enhanced what they were doing. It felt like a country kitchen, and the flowers in the walled garden it all worked perfectly.”

She added: “Without doubt this will raise the profile of the mansion, I have overheard people saying they had no idea it was so impressive there.”

The winner, Mrs Wheatley, who already has a popular baking blog, impressed the judges with her victoria sponge sandwiches and mini bannoffee pie.

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She said: “It was such a privilege to take part in The Great British Bake Off, but to win it has been amazing especially against such talented bakers. It’s been a fantastic experience and hopefully it is something I can build on in the future.”

Mrs Green said the “coup” in catching the attention of BBC producers was a tribute to head horticulturalist at the park, Simon Litt, who she called “dedicated and interested” in making the gardens look as colourful as possible.

The venue, run by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, is marketing itself as an attractive option for weddings and events.