In 1890, Millionaire Whitaker Wright purchased the Lea Park estate near Witley and the adjacent South Park Farm estate. The combination of these two estates became Wright's 1,400 acre Witley Park.
Wright proceeded to build his thirty two bedroom, eleven bathroom mansion, complete with a theatre, observatory and private hospital.
To complete his country estate, some 600 workers were employed to reshape the landscape, including the creation of 3 large artificial lakes. Thursley Lake, the largest of the three, contains an underwater billiards room with 192 small (but thick) glass panels looking out into the lake, topped by an above-water statue which can be seen from the shore. A room adjacent to this provides access to a small artificial island. The lake also hides several tunnels and an underwater waterfall accessible from a pontoon at the north-western corner of the lake.
The grounds also boast a Lutyens boathouse and a number of other buildings, including Wright's ice house in which he hid for a week in 1902.
In 1904 Wright was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for fraud. He swallowed a cyanide capsule he had smuggled into court and died minutes later.
Since Wright's death, Witley Park has had a number of owners including William James Pirrie, the designer of the SS Titanic.
The great mansion burned to the ground in 1952, yet many of the hidden treasures of Witley Park remain.