Rifle barrel

Object number

LDVAL 2006.26.2


After 1890 – Before 1910


Remain of a small calibre rifle barrel. Found in the 1930s buried in an internal wall of Whalebone House. It has been rendered inoperative by a mid 19th century Enfield rifled musket's ramrod, hammered down the barrel. Probably used for killing vermin.

Situated on land that is now between Gordon Road and Albany Road on Chadwell Heath High Road, Whalebone House was built during the Tudor period, and its existence is first recorded in 1662. The house (as well as the nearby Whalebone Road and former Whalebone Library) takes its name from the two huge whale bones which stood either side of its front gate. These bones come from a whale washed up at Dagenham Breach during a storm on 3rd September 1685.

Whalebone House was an imposing three-storied building with a bell turret. It contained some finely panelled rooms, an oak staircase, a fine kitchen with large firegrate and oven of curious pattern, and a long, massive oak bench. Several of the rooms have two doors to them (one has three), which are fitted with iron bars and staples. At the top of the house are two attics, one with a large firegrate, as though it had been intended to serve as a kitchen or living room, the other with strong iron loops on the beams supporting the roof, from which hammocks were swung.

The building was destroyed by an enemy bomb in 1941. The whale bones were moved to Valence House Museum, where they were proudly displayed around the front door for a number of years. However, they have since been removed due to damage caused by acid rain. The last owner of Whalebone house was Mrs Lester.

Physical description

Metal internal workings of a long barreled rifle. Mounted on a pale wooden board, with an engraved dedication plaque below.






Gun length: Arraymm
width: Arraymm
Mount length: Arraymm
width: Arraymm
Depth: Arraymm


Gun: Iron
Mount: Wood

Collection type

Social history

Alternative reference

Entry Number 1663/2 (2006-10-23)

Looking for records

Objects that are not on display in the museum can be viewed by appointment at the discretion of the Museum Curator. To find out more about accessing the collection please email: valencehousemuseum@lbbd.gov.uk or telephone: 020 8227 2034

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Start dateAfter 1890
End dateBefore 1910
InstitutionValence House Museum
Collection typeSocial history