Tuesday, June 23, 2020


By Mary Davis


Not that kind of of underwater dancing—the kind in fancy dresses . . . but under water.

Sounds pretty strange.

Well, it is strange but possible.

I love eccentric people because they do and create the oddest things.

Out side of London in 1890, Whitaker Wright purchased the Manor of Witley and several other adjoining properties to form what came to be known as Witley Park, a 1,400 acre estate. The Manor of Witley dated back to before 1066 and was occupied by a variety of owners, including kings, queens, earls, lords, and baronets.

Wright built a lavish mansion with thirty-two bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, a drawing room, two dining rooms, a library, a theater, a palm court, an observatory, a velodrome (a cycle-racing track), a stable for fifty horses, and a private hospital. What more could a person want? Apparently, he felt he was missing something. One of his final projects was having three man-made lakes constructed. That’s one way to get lakefront property. One of the lakes has what appears to be a floating statue of Neptune rising out of the water. But Neptune guards a secret.

This looks like something from a Harry Potter movie. What lies beneath does as well.

Under Neptune’s feet sits a secret room. In then woods, if you go along the low stonewall to a small stone building with an arched doorway, descend a spiral staircase, traverse the subterranean tunnel, you will enter the “ballroom” bathed in muted light beneath one of these created lakes. The domed ceiling is made up of nearly 200 panes of algae-covered glass. No one is quite sure what Wright used this room for. It could have been a unique ballroom, or a billiard room, or a smoking room. Whatever its intended purpose, it has been dubbed the underwater ballroom.

I wasn’t able to obtain public domain or royalty free photos of the underwater chamber, but there are some good images at https://www.messynessychic.com/2014/12/11/the-rotting-underwater-ballroom-of-a-victorian-bernie-madoff/

Wright made his money the old-fashion way—by swindling people. He was eventually caught, tried in 1904, and sentenced to seven years in prison. Unable to face that future, he swallowed a cyanide pill and died in the courthouse.
The estate again passed through various people and was parceled off. In 1952, the house burned down, but the underwater ballroom was spared.

Here is one of the surviving buildings, Thursley Lodge.

Today, the portion of the estate with the underwater ballroom is privately owned. The owner very rarely allows anyone to go inside it, but people have trespassed and taken pictures.

THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (The Quilting Circle Book 3) #TheDamselsIntent #HistoricalRomance #FreeKU #KU #ChristianRomance
Can Nicole learn to be enough of a lady to snag the handsome rancher?
   Nicole Waterby heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband, not realizing women don’t wear trousers or carry a gun. She has a lot to learn. Rancher Shane Keegan has drifted from one location to another to find a place to belong. When Nicole crosses his path, he wonders if he can have love, but he soon realizes she’s destined for someone better than a saddle tramp. Will love stand a chance while both Nicole and Shane try to be people they’re not?

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MARY DAVIS s a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides CollectionCourting Her Amish HeartThe Widow’s PlightCourting Her Secret Heart , “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , and Courting Her Prodigal Heart . 2019 titles include The Daughter's Predicament and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-five years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:


  1. Very interesting! That room must have been well built to not leak! Thanks for posting.

    1. It had to be. After all these years, it still doesn't leak! Amazing!

  2. Wow! I've never heard of this property. Amazing what some people do with their money. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I hadn't heard of it either until I stumbled across a tiny blurb about it. I love finding out about these kinds of oddities!

  3. Wow who would imagine an underground ballroom. I imagine it was th e talk of th e town. The book also sounds very Intetesting. rorylynn@att.net