The Scribblaire spent a lovely couple of hours yesterday visiting Strawberry Hill House. We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the house and often walk past to take in the view or wander into the gardens to take photographs.
The house is an eighteenth century gothic revival building, created between 1748 and 1790 as a summer villa for Horace Walpole. Walpole was an eccentric politician, writer and collector who wanted to create his summer home in the style of a gothic castle by the banks of the River Thames. Although rather fanciful, this building is very important in the history of British architecture and had a direct influence on the taste for gothic revival buildings in the nineteenth century.
A few years ago there was a BBC television programme called ‘Restoration’. Each episode included commentary on several buildings in a state of disrepair. Viewers were encouraged to vote for the building they wished to be saved and the one with highest number of votes would get funding to restore it to its former glory. Strawberry Hill House was included in one of the programmes. The Scribblaire was incredulous when the house came second in the number of votes gained and was therefore apparently consigned to certain dereliction.
Thankfully, the Strawberry Hill Trust and Friends of Strawberry Hill have spend years of their time and effort in raising millions of pounds to restore the house. More information about the house can be found on the Strawberry Hill House website, which will provide much more information that The Scribblaire could hope to do. If you’re in the area, I’d encourage a visit to the house which needs support to continue the work that has been started.
In the meantime, here’s a few photographs taken during our visit.