Wright still tried to talk of reconstruction to minimise the losses of those who had entrusted their fortunes to him, but this proved to be fantasy, and gross assets he had valued at £7m were found to be worth just £1.5m at most. As always, click on a photo to VIEW LARGE. Pirrie made additions of his own, including a Greek style temple on Hindhead Common, which also features in the Museum's photograph albums. The remainder of the estate today is owned by a conference company.In Whitaker Wright's time, Lea Park Estate covered about 3000 acres. SOURCESEaton, John, P and Haas Charles, Titanic - Triumph and Tragedy (London:Butler and Tanner, 1995)Felstead, S,T and Lady Muir, Sir Richard Muir - The Memoirs of a Public Prosecutor (London:Bodley Head, 1927)Gardiner, Robin and Van Der Vat, Dan, Riddle of the Titanic (London:Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1995)Subject Files - Godalming Museum's Local Studies Library, 'Whitaker Wright' and 'Witley Park', Return to Uncovering secrets or the Collections index or Buildings that have been lost, Whitaker Wright made a considerable fortune in mining - at first in America and then later speculating on Australian mining businesses. In 1890 he paid £250,000 (approx. Love your photography and write ups. He subsequently settled in Philadelphia and became chairman of the Philadelphia Mining Exchange.

By the age of 31 he was comfortably a millionaire, in an era when that really meant something. The financial dealings which had provided the funds for this grand building programme dramatically dried up with the collapse of Wright's London and Globe Financial Corporation in December 1900. He later went on to be showered with honours and public appointments, but died at sea in 1924, leaving large debts.After Pirrie's death, the estate was sold to the Pall Mall Trust, a large part of which was owned by Sir John Leigh. This was converted for residential use in the early C20. All the photographs are scenes taken within the Witley Park (earlier known as Lea Park) estate.

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Wright formed the London and Globe Finance Company which floated a variety of mining stock and bond issues. Thank you Alex – extremely well spotted on the typo, now corrected. I will never forget paddling quietly across the lake under the light of the moon, every nerve standing on edge, stories from other explorers of a shotgun-wielding farmer on a quad bike being pushed to the back of my mind…, And then, surreally and brilliantly, we were in! However the folly that Wright chose was entirely different and unique – a billiards/smoking room built 40 feet beneath one of the huge artificial lakes, with a 4.5 metre high statute of Neptune above it, and joined to land and a nearby artificial island by teardrop-shaped underground tunnels. He formed the estate through a number of land purchases between 1889 and 1897. Its landscaped grounds include three artificial lakes, one of which conceals a remarkable underwater conservatory and smoking room. The lakes boasted a boathouse by Lutyens, an articifial island and, under one, a spectacular underwater billiards room - which still exists to this day. (Photo by Darren Smith Photography and used with his kind permission). You will need to book a separate ticket if you wish to visit Witley Court before the event. There is no public access to the heart of the old estate and the main house, but Godalming Museum has photographs of the key features in 2000, together with photographs of some of the dispersed elements (the fountain and cascade). Godalming Museum, ref: NN249.1.7 This is one of a series of sepia photographs held in two albums in the library store at the Museum. In the centre of the garden is the spectacular Perseus and Andromeda Fountain (listed grade I) of c 1860. Around the house are the remains of a … But building a large house wasn't enough for Wright.

He ended up owning a number of companies, including the London and Globe Finance Corporation, all of which ventured into many and diverse projects (the financing and building of London's Bakerloo underground line was one of these). Four days after his death, Wright’s body was carried to All Saints Churchyard in Witley in a glass hearse. The house is no longer standing, but the stables, lakes and parkland remain.

On the north side of the garden is the former gardener's house (listed grade II), now divided into two dwellings.

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But he lost most of his assets in the collapse of the Gunnison Iron and Coal Company and returned to England virtually penniless in 1889, whereupon he set about reinventing himself as an expert in speculative mining ventures and the promotion of West Australian gold stocks. The locals then donated the land to the National Trust in 1906, becoming in the process the first Trust property to be managed by a local commitee. Gatehouses, lodges and a large stone wall still exist. In the early C19 porticos were added on both sides of the building, that on the south, garden front being by John Nash (1752-1835). Your trust is our top concern, so businesses can't pay to alter or remove their reviews. In 1889 the onset of the Boer War led to bear raids on Wright’s companies. {English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest}, (Swindon: English Heritage, 2008) [on CD-ROM], R. Lockett {A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Worcestershire} (Hereford and Worcester: Hereford and Worcester Gardens Trust, 1997), Pardoe, B., {Witley Court and Church: life and luxury in a great country house} ([Great Witley]: Peter Huxtable Designs, c1986), http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/witley-court-and-gardens/, http://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000901, Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Worcestershire, Witley Court and Church: life and luxury in a great country house, a miscellany of contemporary prints, drawings and photographs, The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens. 29-30. In 1909 the house was bought by William James Pirrie (Viscount Pirrie) - famous as the designer of the SS Titanic and chairman of 'Harland and Wolff' the shipbuilders. £56m - 2006 value). The deer park was recorded by Saxton in 1577, and on later maps. These companies became disastrously over-extended and eventually crashed, causing huge financial losses to shareholders, employees and other companies. Witley Park Witley Park, formerly known as Lea Park, is an estate dating from the 19th-century between Godalming and Haslemere, Surrey, England.Its landscaped grounds include three artificial lakes, one of which conceals a remarkable underwater conservatory and smoking room.