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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Artist Hirst buys up manor house
Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst already has a studio in the Cotswolds
Artist Damien Hirst has bought a 300-room mansion in the Cotswolds to house his personal art collection.

Hirst, who is famous for preserving animals in formaldehyde, intends to restore the run-down Grade I listed Toddington Manor, near Cheltenham.

The 40-year-old - who reportedly paid 3m for the property - is also expected to live there with his wife and their three sons.

Hirst will work with English Heritage to restore the manor.

Art collection

The 124-acre Gothic-style manor was built in 1820 and has stood empty for 20 years.

In 2004, people living in the village of Toddington fought plans to convert the property into an hotel and conference centre.

A spokesperson for Hirst said: "He regards it as a lifetime's work, a long term project working in co-operation with English Heritage.

"His current ambition is that it will serve as a museum to house his extensive collection of his own and other artists' works."

English Heritage spokeswoman Helen Bowman said they had held initial talks with Hirst about proposed renovation work at Toddington Manor.

She said: "We have been in contact with the potential new owner of Toddington Manor and we are looking forward to working together in securing the future of this important Grade 1 listed building."

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