When this couple won the lottery in 2012, they were generous with their winnings. They took their friends on holidays with them, for instance, and even purchased a house for one of them. The pair also bought a mansion for themselves – but just five years later that house is a blight on their neighborhood.
Casey Carrington and Matthew Topham’s huge lottery win came in 2012 when they were both aged just 23 – and not long after receiving the $60 million jackpot, they made the decision to marry. Their spending was initially modest, however, considering the size of the win.
The Tophams began their spending by choosing to move out of their £80,000 ex-council house. But although they were now multi-millionaires, they bought an average-sized home in the same neighborhood for $325,000. And aside from picking up a new Jaguar XK and a Range Rover Evoque, the couple did not splurge heavily at first.
For one thing, the Tophams seemed keener to help their friends than spend on themselves. Most notably, they gave £1.3 million ($1.7 million) to a close buddy to help him and his parents. At the time, a source told the The Sun, “It’s a fantastic gesture and proves [that they] don’t intend to leave their friends behind.”
Nonetheless, it wasn’t long before the couple decided to upgrade. “I have often painted these huge houses and wondered what it would be like to live in one,” Matt, who worked as a decorator, explained to the Daily Mail. “Now I can find out.”
So the couple decided to buy a mansion in Nottingham, England, known as Rainbow House. Built in the 1930s, it was an art deco heritage home. But five years later, the property has turned into a derelict hellhole that has become notorious in the local area.
To begin with, though, it appeared that the Tophams had big plans for the £1.2 million ($1.6 million) home. Indeed, shortly after moving in, they received planning permission for extensive renovations. The couple in fact intended to demolish the existing building and construct a new eight-bedroom house on the land.
And the plans that the pair had submitted immediately garnered attention from the media. Dubbed a “Teletubby-style” home, the design included solar panels as well as a swimming pool and a cinema. The couple’s grand vision for the land has not come to fruition in the years since, however. Far from it.
This is in part because the Tophams never actually moved into Rainbow House, choosing instead to leave it empty. This in turn meant that the home was unguarded and isolated, which quickly made it attractive to drug users in the area. And as a result, it began to take on the hellish appearance that it still retains to this day.
Although a 12-foot fence was put up to try and keep intruders out, it has not deterred the trespassers. What’s more, these unwanted guests have done a great deal of damage to the property, including lighting fires inside and breaking fixtures. And while the police have been in attendance on several occasions, such efforts have been to no avail.
“We have been told by the council that all the toilets have been smashed, leaving the drains open,” a neighbor told the Daily Mail. “That in turn attracted rats. There is also an empty swimming pool, which is a real danger, too. I’m surprised no one has been seriously hurt in there.”
So, while Rainbow House was once a beautiful example of art deco architecture, it now receives attention for very different reasons. And it seems to have become particularly popular among young people who visit it as a dare. In fact, according to the Daily Mail, one Snapchat group has called the property the “scariest place in Nottingham to have your photo taken.”
People who live in neighboring properties have consequently grown angry with the owners. One told the Daily Mail, “The Tophams have shedloads of money and should be spending some to end this farce – or at least on security.”
Bearing all this in mind, it’s perhaps surprising that the house hasn’t been demolished already. But even though planning approval had been granted, the plans were put on hold because the “Teletubby” house became too expensive to build. As a result, no action was taken, and Rainbow House was allowed to fall into disrepair.
The local council are well aware of the problem, though. Indeed, the U.K.’s ITV quoted a recent council report as stating, “The house has been the victim of anti-social behavior, vandalism, countless arson and nuisance fire attempts, and is now in a state where every opening has been blocked up… and secured by steel sheets.”
Given the state that the property is in, the council is, however, likely to consider a new application, so the Tophams have filed again to demolish the house. That said, despite the couple apparently having plans to build a different house on the land, so far there has been no indication of what it might look like.
Meanwhile, although the story of Rainbow House’s dilapidation is somewhat sad, it’s far from the only abandoned building in Nottingham. For instance, the former airbase at RAF Newton has been deserted for many years; and after it fell into disuse, even the base’s housing was left derelict.
Then again, perhaps it may be for the best if the airbase were to remain abandoned. Why? Because parts of the site are contaminated with radium, which was used in the 1940s and 1950s to coat aircraft dials so as to make them glow in the dark.
Unlike Rainbow House, however, this location is beginning to be used again. Yes, certain parts of the original airbase have since found use as an industrial estate. What’s more, some new housing has also been built there, and there is more construction planned for the future.
Craig Straw, director of the site’s developer, Innes England, has said, “This is a vital new housing scheme for the area… a particularly popular location with young families looking for that rural lifestyle within close proximity to the city. Strategically this is a hugely important site.” Let’s just hope better things are on the horizon for Rainbow House, too.