Strawberry Hill houseStrawberry Hill House opens to the public today after a major restoration. Those of us at the GEM conference had a chance for a preview visit while the builders were still busy. Horace Walpole created the house around 1750. As the first neo-Gothic house in England, it became the forerunner of the Gothic Revival (the Houses of Parliament, etc) in architecture, and inspired Walpole's The Duke of Otranto which was the first Gothic novel. Strawberry Hill House is adjacent to St Mary's University College, Twickenham (it used to be part of the college), so snipers were due to be stationed on the roof during the Pope's recent visit.