Whitaker Wright was a financier and self-made millionaire. He had mining interests around the world and, closer to home, his business empire included the London & Globe Finance Company, principal backers of London’s Bakerloo line.
About 1890 Wright assembled a huge 9,000 acre (3,644ha) estate stretching from Thursley to the Devil’s Punchbowl and engaged leading architects and engineers to construct a vast mansion and lavish pleasure gardens. But whatever the scale of the house and grounds, it’s Wright’s dream-like follies that send your imagination into overdrive.
Like a children’s den, it all starts with a hollow tree and a door. Beyond the door, a ramp spirals down past musty subterranean rooms towards a flooded tunnel, 50ft (15m) below the ground. Your feet would take you no further; but luckily enough, there’s a boat here. Climb aboard, and feel your way through the tunnel until it brings you out onto a lake.
There’s an island over there. Row across and tie up the boat; things are starting to get interesting. A flight of stairs lead down to a light, airy room directly below the island. Time to change into party clothes here, before more steps and another tunnel take you through to the miniature iron and glass ballroom, totally submerged beneath the surface of the lake. If you’d like a dance, only the fish will notice. Another submarine tunnel leads us back into the warm sunshine, to ponder what all this must have cost. It’s said that Wright spent around £1.5m on Witley Park in the 1890’s; perhaps as much as £200m by today’s standards. But that was the least of it.
By the turn of the century, Wright’s business enterprises were collapsing like a set of dominoes; he was arrested on charges of fraud, tried at the Old Bailey, and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Waiting in an anteroom to the court, Whitaker Wright had other ideas. He asked for a cigar, and a glass of whiskey - then swallowed a cyanide capsule, and died where he fell.
The entire Witley Park estate is private property, and not open to the public at any time.
Underwater smoking room (by odin’s_raven)

This is perfect.

Whitaker Wright was a financier and self-made millionaire. He had mining interests around the world and, closer to home, his business empire included the London & Globe Finance Company, principal backers of London’s Bakerloo line.

About 1890 Wright assembled a huge 9,000 acre (3,644ha) estate stretching from Thursley to the Devil’s Punchbowl and engaged leading architects and engineers to construct a vast mansion and lavish pleasure gardens. But whatever the scale of the house and grounds, it’s Wright’s dream-like follies that send your imagination into overdrive.

Like a children’s den, it all starts with a hollow tree and a door. Beyond the door, a ramp spirals down past musty subterranean rooms towards a flooded tunnel, 50ft (15m) below the ground. Your feet would take you no further; but luckily enough, there’s a boat here. Climb aboard, and feel your way through the tunnel until it brings you out onto a lake.

There’s an island over there. Row across and tie up the boat; things are starting to get interesting. A flight of stairs lead down to a light, airy room directly below the island. Time to change into party clothes here, before more steps and another tunnel take you through to the miniature iron and glass ballroom, totally submerged beneath the surface of the lake. If you’d like a dance, only the fish will notice. Another submarine tunnel leads us back into the warm sunshine, to ponder what all this must have cost. It’s said that Wright spent around £1.5m on Witley Park in the 1890’s; perhaps as much as £200m by today’s standards. But that was the least of it.

By the turn of the century, Wright’s business enterprises were collapsing like a set of dominoes; he was arrested on charges of fraud, tried at the Old Bailey, and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Waiting in an anteroom to the court, Whitaker Wright had other ideas. He asked for a cigar, and a glass of whiskey - then swallowed a cyanide capsule, and died where he fell.

The entire Witley Park estate is private property, and not open to the public at any time.

Underwater smoking room (by odin’s_raven)

This is perfect.

(via abandonedography)