Spooky Sanatorium to Luxury Living – the first of its kind in the UK

Spooky Sanatorium to Luxury Living – the first of its kind in the UK

  • Spooky sanatorium transformed into luxury living 100 years later
  • Barton Wyatt’s critical involvement in the ground-breaking development of Virginia Park
  • Virginia Park celebrates 20th anniversary in 2015

In Bill Bryon’s latest novel, The Road to Little Dribbling, one chapter details a wonderful period in Bryson’s life where he unexpectedly became an employee in a mental health institution. This comical account is set in Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water where the very wealthy, who suffered mental illness were able to reside in relative luxury in this secure NHS owned hospital.

Holloway Sanatorium was built by Henry Crossland for ‘mentally afflicted persons’ in 1884 and still stands today. The patients are however long gone and today the estate known as Virginia Park is home to a mix of residents who enjoy living in a gated community.

Bryson has very fond memories of the sanatorium, as it was while living there that he met his wife Cynthia. And although Holloway was full of long-term patients who were “quite mad,” he loved the quintessential Englishness of the place.

It was in the 1980s that Holloway Sanatorium closed its doors to patients. The grand estate then lay fallow for many years. Thieves took advantage of the disrepair by stealing parts of the roof with the house decaying over time and becoming dangerous.

Then, quite by chance during a family holiday in America, local Virginia Water Resident and Estate Agent Hugh Wyatt spotted a gated community, which had been developed with high class homes, 24 hour security and residents leisure facilities. Hugh decided to take this concept back to England to see if he could create a similar development in his home village.

Wyatt’s visionary concept took a great deal of time and effort to develop but it was worth the wait. Working in conjunction with his brother, who owned high end homebuilder Octagon Developments and a local financier, Wyatt was responsible for the first ever UK development where a large Victorian hospital was just part of the plan.  This ground breaking idea has become known as “enabling development”.  The only way to make the development viable was to build new houses on the estate which would help cover the cost of restoring the wonderful grade I listed building.

As this was the brain child of Hugh Wyatt, his award winning estate agency, Barton Wyatt, were the selling agents on the estate. Their figures reveal that the real cost of creating each of the homes within the listed building was over £1,000,000 however the houses were sold in 1995 for an affordable £500,000. Today they meet their true value being priced at £1,000,000 – £2,000,000. In contrast the new build homes within the grounds of Virginia Park were originally sold for £325,000 and are now worth around £1,100,000.

Some of the owners who bought these homes some 20 years ago are still there today. In this beautiful environment set within 25 acres and with 24-hour gated security, Virginia Park is a fabulous place to live.

James Wyatt, son of Hugh and now partner of Barton Wyatt, comments:

“I feel immense pride towards Virginia Park and in particular the work that my father and uncle put into creating a development that was the first of its kind in the UK.  They came up against many hurdles during the planning but were very insistent that it was a feasible notion and found solutions to all of the challenges they faced.”

When asked if Holloway House – now known as Crossland House – is haunted, Wyatt says:

“I don’t believe in ghosts so it is hard for me to say.  Some of my staff have certainly had the feeling of being watched whilst in the main building.  The contractors who worked on the regeneration were forever telling tales of things that go bump and equipment disappearing or being moved.  Certainly our residents love living there and no one has ever moved out that I know off because of the paranormal!”

Bill Bryson certainly never mentioned ghosts in his tales of Virginia Water.  He fell in love, got married and bought a house in the area, staying for 12 happy years whilst he was a journalist at The Times.

For more details contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bartonwyatt.co.uk.

Available to rent and buy on Virginia Park:


To buy:  12a The Grange, Virginia Park                   £935,000

A two bedroom apartment situated in Virginia Park which is a prestigious private gated estate built around the former Holloway Sanatorium, a magnificent Gothic building, now Grade I listed, in the heart of Virginia Water. The walled estate boasts 24 hour manned security, extensive leisure facilities including a fantastic indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi and sauna, well equipped gym and tennis court. Within easy walking distance of Virginia Water Village Centre with its excellent shops for day to day needs, restaurants and mainline railway station with fast service of trains to Waterloo in 42 minutes.

Reception hall, Sitting room, Kitchen/breakfast room, Master bedroom with luxury en-suite bathroom, Guest bedroom with en-suite bathroom, Bedroom three/study, Family shower room, Secure underground parking for three cars, Secure underground storage unit, 24 Hour security, Leisure facilities.

The 24 acres of Virginia Park are superbly landscaped and maintained and offer tree lined lanes and walkways with a very large green to the front of the development. In the underground car park the apartment has 3 allocated parking spaces and a useful secure storage cupboard for suitcases/bicycles etc.

For more details contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843000 www.bartonwyatt.co.uk


To Rent:  Crossland House, Virginia Park £3,250 pcm – Fees Apply

A magnificent townhouse in this architecturally important Grade I listed building restored in 1996 by the renowned Octagon Developments, now offering a home with exceptional quality and character overlooking a Green.

The accommodation comprises master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, two further en-suite bedrooms, two reception and study.  Kitchen / breakfast room, southerly aspect private courtyard garden and underground parking for two cars

Leisure facilities to include swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym, tennis court and sports hall.


Editor’s Notes

The development of Crossland House was done using Enabling development: