Strawberry Hill House
Restoration and re-gilding of the weathervane (2009) Restoration of the main entrance (2023)
Strawberry Hill House is a Gothic Revival villa built in Twickenham, London, by Horace Walpole (1717–1797) from 1749 onward. Walpole, 4th Earl of Oxford, was an English writer and politician, who developed the genre of gothic novels and as a Whig politician who kept a copy of Charles I’s death warrant at his house. One of the most culturally significant figures of 18th century England, his house Walpole bought the villa in 1747 and transformed it into a pseudo-Gothic showplace, adding cloisters, turrets and battlements and filling the interior with pictures and curios and a valuable library. Strawberry Hill was the stimulus for the Gothic Revival style in English domestic architecture and became widely known in Walpole’s own lifetime. He also established a private press on the grounds, where he printed his own works and those of his friends.
From 1883 to 1887 the property was owned by Baron Hermann de Stern (1815–1887), a German-born British banker. In 1923 it was bought by the Roman Catholic St Mary's University College, and 2007 it was leased to the Strawberry Hill Trust for restoration and eventual opening to the public.
HOLT restored the weathervane on top of the building in 2009, gilding and reinstating.
As of 2023, HOLT is involved in a second project for the entrance which has become dangerous to use and is currently closed following several large sections falling from the wall surrounding the doors through the front screen wall. Use of non-breathable paint has resulted in water trapped in the stone and joints, freezing in winter and blowing the stone. This paint has now been stripped and the stone repairs assessed. New bathstone indents will be inserted where the stonework has failed, alongside mortar repairs, and the stonework will be repainted in Keim paint.