Secret Underwater Ballroom Tells a Century-Old Tale of Woe


Visible from the surface only in the form of a rooftop Apollo statue, inside it is filled with eerie yellow (water-filtered) daylight. The story of this creepy-but-inspiring space is, however, one of fortunes made and lost, starting with extravagant scams and ending in cyanide suicide.

A 19th-Century British version of Bernie Madoff, Whitaker Wright made his fortune despite failing to refund those who financed him – ultimately leading him to flee to the United States, be subsequently extradited and suffer a self-inflicted demise following his final trial in the UK.

At his peak, he constructed an amazing mansion with a most unusual space: an entirely-underwater ballroom – part of a massive reconstruction project in which 600 workmen dug out four lakes and moved minor mountains to make his palatial paradise.

Still, this room stands out as secret and separate. Accessed via a door hidden in a tree at ground level, connected to spiral staircase and a teardrop-shaped tunnel, it is a weird subterranean wonder of iron and glass, surrounded by water (and fish) on all sides.

The death of its original owner left the rest of the grounds to fall victim to a fire and subsequent disrepair. Semi-miraculously, however, the underwater space survived and today is owned by an (on the level, this time) entrepreneur. (Via the DailyMail)

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