Wallace at The Dell

A National Campaign to preserve Wallace's house and gardens in Grays


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During the course of talking to local people about our ideas, the Friends of Wallace at The Dell realised that Wallace was not as well known in Thurrock as he deserves to be. As a result, we decided to apply for a Lottery grant to be used to raise his profile. The application was led by the Thurrock Local History Society and supported by the Thurrock Heritage Forum and the Thurrock Museum. We are pleased to announce that the bid was successful. We have been awarded a £10,000 lottery grant to research and publicise Wallace’s life and work.

The project will involve visits by volunteers to a number of museums and archives including the Thurrock Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Essex Record Office. Our first research visit was to Valence House . The volunteers are researching:

The volunteers will use the results of the research to prepare portable and modular exhibition or interpretation panels which will tell the story of Wallace, of evolution, of The Dell and of Victorian Thurrock. There will also be a booklet to accompany the panels. They will be exhibited at the Thurrock Museum and at local events such as the Orsett Show under the title Discovering Alfred Russel Wallace. The results will also be included on a web site.

Project Activities

On 13th May, volunteers visited Valence House in Dagenham.  

On the weekend of 27th of June we joined the Thurrock Local History Society at the Horndon Feast and Fayre where we piloted a short version of our information booklet.

On the 29th July, Richard Milner came to Thurrock. In the morning he visited The Dell and in the afternoon he entertained more than 100 people at the Thameside Theatre.

On 5th September, we were at at the Orsett Show and on 13th September we were at the High House open day.

After the High House open day, our display panels went to the Thameside.

On October 24th, we were at the Royal Opera House.

On 21st November, we took part in the Thurrock Local History Book Fair at the Thameside complex in Grays.

The Wallace display was at the Thameside Nature Park for two weeks from 5th March - 22nd March. It has now returned to the Thameside Complex.

On 23rd March, project volunteers visited the Butterfly Jungle at Hall Place & Gardens.

On the 1st April, we visited the Natural History Museum.

On the 6th April, we visited the Plantation Gardens in Norwich.

On 27th April, we visited Down House.

We have produced 4 videos as part of the project.

On the 18th June we were at the North Stifford Village Fete.

On the 25th June we were at the Horndon Feast and Fayre.

The project was originally intended to last for a year, but has now been extended to May, 2016. We would like to involve as many Thurrock people as possible. If you would like to volunteer to be part of this project, please contact the Thurrock Local History Society. You can e-mail: JohnMatthews@thurrock-history.org.uk.