Tech boss transforms £550,000 Napoleonic fort into party island

Real-life Napoleon complex! Tech boss transforms Napoleonic fort off Wales into party island with rooftop bar after buying it for £555,000

  • Businessman Mike Conner, 48, bought Thorne Island near Pembrokeshire, Wales, for £555,000 in May 2017
  • The island came with its own 19th century Napoleonic fort which had been built to house around 100 soldiers
  • After lying empty for 17 years, Mike is now working to transform the former fort into a party island destination

A businessman has taken on the ultimate renovation challenge after he purchased a Napoleonic fort in a bid to transform it into a party pad. 

Mike Conner, 48, who is the CEO of tech company Appsbroker, snapped up Thorne Island near Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for £555,000 in May 2017.

The island, which comes with its own 100-man fort, was originally constructed in the 1850s to protect the busy port of Milford Haven from French naval attacks.

However, with it’s days of battle behind it, Thorne Island and its fort had been left lying empty for 17 years before Conner bought them.

Mike Conner, 48, (pictured) who is the CEO of tech company Appsbroker, snapped up Thorne Island (pictured) near Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for £555,000 in May 2017

The island, which comes with its own 100-man fort, was originally constructed in the 1850s to protect the busy port of Milford Haven from French naval attacks

Thorne Island and its fort had been lying empty for 17 years before Mike Conner purchased them in 2017

A group of Google executives even flew onto the island by helicopter for a party that started at the rooftop bar before moving down into the courtyard (pictured), where hidden speakers played music for them

Conner said that he has no budget for the renovation works which will transform the former defensive location into a party island. He also doesn’t know how much he has spent so far but that the costs were ‘off the scale’

Conner has big plans for the former defensive construct, with renovation works already underway to transform the fort into a party destination.

He said that he knew he wanted to buy the island the moment that he first saw it on a YouTube video.

‘I saw it and it was just, “Bam”, I wanted to buy it,’ he said. ‘I don’t have a timescale to finish, I don’t have a budget, I just want to enjoy doing the project.’

A few of the rooms in the former fort have already received a makeover, including a rooftop bar which has already played host to parties.

A group of Google executives even flew onto the island by helicopter for a party that started at the rooftop bar before moving down into the courtyard, where hidden speakers played music for them.

Proud owner: Mike Conner stands next to a Thorne Island sign. He has spent most of the summer on the island working to bring it back to life

Stunning: A bird’s eye view of Thorne Island and its Napoleonic fort which Mike Conner purchased for £555,000 in May 2017

The dad-of-three has spent much of his summer at the fort with wife Natasha and their children as he worked to renovate some of the bedrooms

Inside the property, Mike has created a welcoming lounge area which features a large brick chimney breast

There are plenty of places to sit and relax inside the former fort which had originally been built in the 1850s to house 100 soldiers

A few of the rooms in the former fort have already received a makeover, including a rooftop bar which has already played host to parties

Mike said: ‘I mean, can you just imagine the fun we have? We had a very jolly time.’ 

The dad-of-three has spent much of his summer at the fort with wife Natasha and their children though he doesn’t plan on living there permanently and will rent out all of the rooms when the renovation project has been completed.

A huge living space can be found inside with a vaulted ceilings and a sprawling open-plan kitchen.

The former soldiers’ garrison has been replaced by wood-burning stoves, mezzanine bedrooms with spiral staircases and plush new bathrooms.

Conner said he was shocked that nobody else wanted the property. He said: ‘I think how have I ended up with it. Why didn’t anyone else want to buy it?’

However, there are a few challenges that he faces due to the remote nature and even has to ask visitors to take rubbish with them as they leave.

He said: ‘We usually ask people to take a bag of rubbish with them when they leave. Everything has to be taken off the island.

‘There aren’t any council services here. No one comes to pick up your bins.’ 

Conner described the cost of the ongoing renovations as ‘off the scale’ and said that ‘it’s massive, it’s complicated, and everything’s a bit different.’ 

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