A £40 million mansion larger than Buckingham Palace has been left abandoned for more than 20 years in the British countryside. Hamilton Palace, which stands in a quiet, untouched area of East Sussex, boasts a façade longer than the royal palace and was once thought to be one of the most valuable private houses under construction in the UK.
After being empty for decades the neglected country house now resembles something out of a horror movie scene with unsettling warning signs surrounding it, the Mirror reports. The massive house was designed for British multi-millionaire Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, a former property tycoon and now convicted felon but the luxurious palace has remained unfinished for over 37 years since construction first began.
Those looking to gain access are met by signs declaring CCTV to be in operation, “Danger – Shooting in progress” and “Warning, dogs running free”. These signs have been ignored by curious members of the public and urban explorers after photos inside the derelict property emerged last year.
The images display a grand unfinished staircase with just the outline of its concrete frame completed which looks as if it was meant to be the lavish centrepiece of the manor. The ditched scaffolding surrounding the palace acts as a spiky armour to attempt to keep trespassers out while the unused outdoor paving is covered in overgrown weeds.
The latest drone images of the vast mansion which is believed to have been named after the capital of Bermuda shows that very little has changed inside the property for a number of years. Construction first commenced in 1985 but the magnificent property would soon be branded the “Ghost of Sussex” by locals.
A reporter who managed to get an inside look of the abode in 2000 when it was apparently two years away from completion described the inside to have a large central staircase and reception hall. There were lift shafts already put in place inside and deluxe stone balustrades and pillars constructed.
One entire floor was planned to hold van Hoogstraten’s extensive art collection, with a mausoleum also included in the blueprints. But the millionaire owner who previously referred to his neighbours as “moronic peasants” is believed to have got into an argument with architect, Anthony Browne for such slow progress being made to the property for more than two decades.
After some cars were spotted inside the property gates, there had been hope that building work inside the mansion would proceed again. However, the urban explorer images confirm the inside looks extremely similar to how it did 22 years ago.
Many other adventurers have posted videos of themselves on YouTube approaching the property but being scared off due to gunshots or finding shotgun cartridges in the surrounding grounds of the fenced up manor. In 2002, there was a three-way argument between the estate’s owners, the Ramblers and East Sussex County Council.
This was triggered after the council diverted a 140 year old walking path which crossed the van Hoogstraten property and had not been properly maintained Ramblers took legal action against this decision and in 2003, after six courses the right of way was cleared with the industrial-sized fridges, half-a-dozen concrete piles, barbed wire and other impediments removed to allow access once again.
Angry neighbours called for the property to be used for the homeless six years ago but cruel van Hoostraten branded this idea “ludicrous” and said said the “majority”of people living on the streets were there “by their own volition or sheer laziness”. He branded rough sleepers to be one “one of the filthiest burdens on the public purse today”.
He also insisted that work was continuing on the Hamilton Palace grounds. Denying accusations that his ambitious mansion-building project had stalled, the owner said: “Even the most moronic of peasants would be able to see from the pictures that we have been busy landscaping the grounds of the palace.
“Hamilton Palace is far from ‘crumbling’ and was built to last for at least 2,000 years. The scaffolding only remains as a part of ongoing routine maintenance such a property would require until completion.”
Van Hoogstraten who is said to have changed his name to Nicholas Adolf von Hessen was first imprisoned in 1968 after he hired thugs to chuck a grenade at the home of one his former business associates. The millionaire is thought to now spend most of his life in Zimbabwe and his four eldest children reportedly control his former £500m business empire under the name Messina Investments.
The former tycoon was sued for £6m in 2005 after a civil court concluded that he had hired hitmen to murder Mohammed Raja, a Pakistani landlord and estate agent. However, in 2018 a judge accepted that van Hoogstraten didn’t possess enough money to pay the bill. A criminal conviction in 2002 for the manslaughter of Mr Raja was quashed a year later, with van Hoogstraten acquitted at a 2003 retrial.
Source: Nottinghamshire Live