Dancing under waterBy Berit Griffin, Marvin Windows
Does anyone have any slightly off-the-wall ideas of what you’d want in a dream house? We’re not necessarily talking about things like a home theater and double ovens in the kitchen. More things like a basement bowling alley where your team can perfect their strikes or maybe a conservatory to grow lemon trees in a northern climate. Me? If I ever buy an old Victorian house, I want it to have…a ballroom. It may be impractical, but there is something extremely romantic about a home ballroom–and what better space for hosting large dinner parties?
Grand old houses often had ballrooms somewhere on the property, but there’s no weirder one than this English ballroom. It’s not in the house, it’s in the garden. Under water. Whitaker Wright’s 32 bedroom English manor had beautiful grounds with the accompanying water features, and under one of his ponds, Wright chose to build a ballroom. According to Slate:
“On August 11, 1903, Australian newspaper The West Gippsland Gazette described the subterranean room thusly:
‘Descending the stairs one comes to a subway, 400 feet long, lighted by rows of electric lamps. The passage leads into a great chamber of glass thirty feet in height — a beautiful conservatory with a wondrous mosaic floor, settees and chairs, palms, and little tables. Outside the clear crystal glass is a curtain of green water, and goldfish come and press their noses against the glass. This submerged fairy-room with appendages cost fully £20,000. It was built, of course, with the utmost care for if one of the square panes of three-inch glass should break, the place would be filled with water within five minutes.'”
We’re sure some fabulous parties went on in this watery ballroom, but the good times didn’t last. Wright’s business went belly-up, and he went into hiding, escaped to the US, was extradited back to England and swallowed cyanide in the courtroom. In the meantime though, there was this:
Imagine descending those stairs in full evening dress! Have you ever secretly wanted something odd like a ballroom in your house?