Bizarre Places: Wright's Underwater Billiards Room

Thursley Lake by David Leeming
The statue atop the dome and the outbuilding
leading to the underground room are pictured here.
James Whitaker Wright was a man who made a fortune in the mining business. He did what many such men do and built frivolous structures with his money. He purchased an estate on a park that is now known as Witley Park. His home there was nothing short of a mansion. Beside it was a man-made lake that still exists today, though the mansion burned down in 1952. However, the bizarre structure that Wright built there still stands, though some believe it to be legend. It is a billiards room, located beneath the lake.

There is a small outbuilding on the lake. Inside of the building, which is now reportedly locked and access to it restricted by the current owner, is a metal spiral staircase. At the end of the staircase is a tunnel, which leads to J. Whitaker Wright's more than one hundred year old billiards room. On the ceiling of the billiards room is a glass dome that, while once a fish observatory, is now covered in algae and only lets in a dim light from above. On the lake, there is no evidence of this dome, save a statue that sits at its peak. Urban explorers love the eerie abandoned room that is likely dangerous to enter. Its state is not the only eerie thing about it, though.

J. Whitaker Wright made some shady business moves that landed him in court for fraud. People lost money and they were not happy with him. Though he seems to have been a popular man, he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison on January 26, 1904. That was also the day he died. Almost immediately after he was sentenced, Wright swallowed cyanide at the Royal Court of London.

After Wright's death, his estate was purchased by Lord William Pirrie. Lord Pirrie was one of the designers of the RMS Titanic. He was supposed to be on the ship when it sank, but he got sick and cancelled. Between him, Wright and the billiards room, this is one bizarre story for the books.