Horace Walpole's Little Gothic Castle in Strawberry Hill
A couple of weekends back Daddy and I took Top Ender and Baby Boy to Strawberry Hill in Richmond to visit the Gothic Castle that Horace Walpole built, and to take part in the festivities to raise money for the restoration of the truly beautiful building. The house means a lot to me, because I am a Simmarian; I went to University in the shadow of this House.
When we got to Strawberry Hill I took Top Ender down the road a little to show her this house and in particular the three windows close together on the second floor on the side of the house. This Victorian house was my home whilst I was at St Marys. That's right, for a while I lived on a road where the average price for a house was £1.1million.
Daddy had joked with me that we wouldn't go for the day unless I could promise that I wouldn't cry. In the past every time we have driven near the University I have started crying because of all the memories wrapped up in the area. Its been ten years since I had been in the grounds and so I really thought I was ready to face the emotions! I was able to show Top Ender and Baby Boy the bandstand in the grounds where I spent many afternoons and warm evenings writing notes for essays, letters home, some really bad poetry and reading books that were on my very long reading lists.
I got to show them where I had lectures, where the library was (If I wasn't in the bandstand, I was in the Library), the Church that made me want to go to St Mary's in the first place (Yes, I chose my university not because of the course but because of this building) and a story about how after arranging to meet a 2nd year student to buy her old Theology course materials at a discounted price I recognised her as someone I had gone to school with.
Top Ender and Baby Boy had a much better time riding round on the fairground rides that were in the grounds than listening to my stories and they seemed pretty pleased that they couldn't hear me over the music that we all had a dance to, but I am sure they were just enjoying the music and not the break from my ramblings about life ten years earlier.
It was a really lovely day that made me wish I had a lot of money that I could donate to the Friends of Strawberry Hill for the restoration. They are taking bookings for tours later this year though, so if you have had your interest piqued then make sure you book to go!