Date of building: 1748 - 1766
This gothic masterpiece in Twickenham is considered one of the finest
examples of Georgian Gothic architecture and interior decoration.
building, which gets its name from the local area, started out as
a modest house but was transformed by Horace
He doubled its size, adding towers and battlements, and filled it
with treasures that reflected his social position in high society.
was obsessed by fashion, style and architecture.
After purchasing Strawberry Hill, he was able to play out these
fascinations by taking the property from a 5-acre plot to 46 acres,
and setting up his "The Committee of Taste" to transform
Committee was made up of Walpole and two of his friends, who he
considered to be of the right (tasteful) metal to work alongside
him on his ambitious plans for the house.
London's Gillian Joseph inside Strawberry Hill House
were John Chute, who was responsible for much of the main elevations
of the house and the interiors, and Richard Bentley, who was an
artist and draughtsman.
all of Walpole's treasures have been removed from the house - all
that is except for his vast collections of painted and stained glass,
which were key to his design vision.
This glass is now however gravely at risk, which was a factor that
helped add it to the World Monuments Fund watch list of 100 most
Walpole died in 1797, the house went through a number of hands,
Lady Frances Waldegrave, who was a leading figure in Victorian society.
1923, it was purchased by the Catholic Education Council and became
St Mary's Roman Catholic Teachers Training College. It is now part
of Surrey University.
about Horace Walpole here>>
I have very fond memories of Strawberry Hill House as I grew up
with a view of the Gothic tower framed by my bedroom window. Every
morning when the curtains were drawn, there it was whatever the
weather or the time of year. I would dream that the tower was the
home of Rapunzel, and that one day, I would see her letting down
her golden hair from a window. Unfortunately, this never happened!
happy memories are of our wedding in St.Mary's College Chapel, followed
by a reception in the Long Gallery and Ballroom of the house. We
were married on August 13th 1983 - a beautiful hot and sunny day,
during a long hot summer. A fantastic start to our married life!
Paul and Tricia Stack
original plan of the house
name is Michael O'Donnell and under the name of Don Craine I play
with 1960s R&B band the Downliners Sect. My family moved to
Twickenham in 1950 and during the mid 1950's my best friend at school
was a fellow named Bob Dilley who's mother was the housekeeper for
the priests who taught at St Mary's College in Strawberry Hill House.
As both of my parents worked, I spent most of my summer holidays
with Bob, wandering the grounds of the house, exploring the underground
shelters and, occasionally, sneaking into the magnificent building
for a dared look around. Our St James' school sports days were held
in the grounds and my first public appearance, with Bob and another
chap, at the age of eleven was at the Strawberry Fair talent contest,
where we appeared as The Cool Three, playing Lonnie Donegan's Lost
John. As it turned out, we were beaten by a young lady who, clad
in Austrian attire, sang about some strange sounding place by the
sea. I will always remember the place with affection and I retain
a love of Gothic in both architecture and ghost/horror stories.