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Strawberry Hill celebrates EU Prize for cultural heritage/ Europa Nostra Grand Prize in the UK

The Strawberry Hill Trust, which was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix of the 2013 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra in the conservation category in Athens, Greece, in June, celebrates the award locally.

A second ceremony took place on 9 July at Strawberry Hill to celebrate the awards. On this occasion, the Europa Nostra plaque was unveiled by Baroness Andrews of Southover, OBE, Chair of English Heritage. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the Strawberry Hill Trust, major donors and supporters, local and national government.

The awards mark the first time that this high quality restoration, led by the Strawberry Hill Trust Chairman, Michael Snodin, with Project Archiects Peter Inskip and Stephen Gee of Inskip + Jenkins, has been recognised on the European stage.

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s grant of £821,000 awarded to the Strawberry Hill Trust to complete the prize-winning restoration of Horace Walpole’s house was also celebrated at the event. The grant will enable the restoration (starting in autumn 2013) of the five private rooms of the house which have seldom been shown to the public.

Strawberry Hill is one of England's most elegant and eccentric Gothic houses. Built as a private villa on the Thames, Horace Walpole’s ‘plaything house’ was in domestic use until 1923, when it was sold to a teacher training institution. Despite the villa’s critical place in architectural history, as the cradle of the Gothic revival, Strawberry Hill was seriously neglected, falling into decay and suffering from poor repairs. The Jury applauded the beautiful conservation of this exceptionally influential place and admired the courage and commitment shown by local volunteers and their professional partners.

The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards has been organised by Europa Nostra and the European Commission since 2002. This year, 30 winners were selected from among nearly 200 projects nominated by 30 countries.