The extraordinary tale of the fantasy pirate island in Cambridgeshire

November 12, 2020 News

In 2013, JMS engineers worked with Sege Rosella at The Master Wishmakers to bring James Challis’ vision of a pirate island, into reality.

JMS surveyed a disused lake and designed a 6-metre-high island, reinforced with geogrid and gabion baskets. The design included five Georgian-style buildings on the island, which were built with oak and Douglas fir frames set on reinforced concrete rafts. The roofs were made from a mix of cedar tiles and thatch, for authenticity. We even incorporated a submerged causeway for access by a submersible WW2 Tank!

Challis Island also features ‘The Black Doubloon’, an authentic one and a half storey working pub, as well as a guest house with a bespoke galleon bed, the fully functional ‘Dead Man’s Dock’, and a tumbling waterfall.

The spectacular nature of the project, which benefited from ingenious design techniques and engineering strategies allowed the team to keep costs to a minimum. So much so, that the final cost of construction came in close to that of a modest town house in Cambridge.

Daniel Staines, Managing Director of JMS Group added: “It was an honour to work on this ‘once in a lifetime’ project.  We have worked with Sege before so he knew we would bring our specialist technical knowledge and expertise to the table to ensure spectacular results. Our collaboration and commitment to the project, resulted in a stunning fantasy island, which will be enjoyed by generations.”

To date, Challis Island is the largest themed architecture and interiors project that JMS and The Master Wishmakers have worked on, winning numerous awards, and shortlisted for an International Design & Architecture Award back in 2013.

If you are looking to create a unique project or need engineering advice, then feel free to get in touch with JMS Engineers.


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