Built in the 1800s, the Underwater Ballroom tells a story of a doomed Victorian fraudster

The story begins in 1890, when a massive estate called Lea Park, was sold by then owner JP J.W.Stone, to an Anglo-American called J. Whitaker Wright, a company promoter and a swindler.

Wright renamed the whole estate Witley Park and turned Lea Park into a luxurious mansion, complete with thirty-two bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, landscaped gardens, a private theatre, an observatory, 450 acres of land and a domed glass and steel room complete with billiard table, under the artificial lakes.

The only clue on the surface of the water being a statue of Neptune which guards the wondrous secret within
The only clue on the surface of the water being a statue of Neptune which guards the wondrous secret within. Photo: LargePig/Flickr

Beneath one of the ponds he installed something very extraordinary: it was called “Underwater Ballroom,” but in reality, it was a subterranean smoking room built beneath a roof aquarium with an epic statue of Neptune seemingly rising out of the manufactured lake on the underwater dome that gave the glorious below-ground room a ballroom-like appearance. Rumour has it that he had more than five hundred men working on the changes he made to the estate, which included digging and filling the three lakes.

The access tunnel to the underwater ballroom. Photo: LargePig/Flickr
09
Entering the ballroom. Photo: LargePig/Flickr
The ballroom was created 40ft beneath a lake at an estate in Surrey and is regarded as Britain greatest folly
The ballroom was created 40ft beneath a lake at an estate in Surrey and is regarded as Britain greatest folly. Photo: Adam X
VIA: thevintagenews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *