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It Looks Like An Ordinary Statue In A Lake, But A Fascinating Story Lies Just Beneath The Surface.

Whitaker Wright was convicted of fraud through the London and Globe Company in 1904, but not before amassing a wealth great enough for a 32-room mansion estate.


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What began as a dubious but not particularly criminal stock-and-bonds operation grew to full-scale swindling when Wright, attempting to float a bond issue for the building of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway, found himself financially collapsing.


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Determined to maintain the image of success, Wright began pushing around a series of "loans" between his companies to misrepresent himself on the balance sheets. 


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Once convicted of fraud, Wright was sentenced to just seven years in prison. Whitaker Wright never served a day, though-- he had come to the trial armed with a cyanide pill and a revolver for backup. He ended his life in the courtroom just after sentencing. 


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Whitaker Wright's sprawling estate contained three artificial lakes and 9,000 acres of manicured landscape.


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But the most famous part of the Wright estate was the underground conservatory and ballroom with aquarium windows.


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The mansion was destroyed by a fire in 1952, and, while new houses have been built on the lot, some of the landscape and the famed ballroom are reminders of the property's storied past.


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Credit: Atlas Obscura

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