Lead ripped from roof of historic Ilford mansion

VALUABLE lead has been stripped from historic Valentines Mansion just two years after an �8.5million refurbishment.

Questions have been raised about security arrangements at the site in Valentines Park, Ilford and the Recorder understands it is no longer under 24-hour protection.

Plastics sheets now cover the parts of the mansion’s lower roof to protect it from water damage.

Richard Small, treasurer of the Friends of Valentines Mansion, said: “I was horrified when I found out and I’d like to know what happened to the security.

“Being in a public park, the mansion is a prime target for thieves because anyone can get in.

“I thought there would have been 24-hour security to stop this from happening but clearly not – which is careless. The roof has been spoiled and now it’s going to cost a lot to have the lead replaced.”

Redbridge Council confirmed there had been a theft at the mansion which had been reported to the police.

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It is now working with English Heritage, which restores historic buildings, to make repairs.

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “We are concerned about this problem, which sees churches often targeted.

“There is pressure to use other, less expensive, materials on roofs – which are not so attractive to thieves.

“However, there are very strong technical reasons why authentic materials such as rolled lead sheet are the most appropriate for historic buildings.

“In certain cases like this one, where a building has already been a target, a change of material will be accepted.”

The mansion’s two-year renovation saw experts restore many of the its period features and bring the 400-year-old building back to its original glory. It is the borough’s second oldest building, dating back to around 1696.

The cost of the restoration was covered by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Redbridge Council.