Fire Destroys Island Mansion; ‘The Great House’ Owned by Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island

Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet helped rescue Richard Branson’s elderly mother from a fire that destroyed the Virgin Group founder’s Caribbean home.

Kate Winslet is credited by Richard Branson for helping carry his 90-year-old mother out of the $70 million main house “The Great House” to safety. Branson rushed out of a guest house where he was staying when he saw flames at “The Great House”. No injuries are reported. The fire was discovered about 4 a.m. Monday during Hurricane Irene which included lightning and high winds. The fire may have been caused by a lightning strike that occurred during Hurricane Irene, which was impacting the area, including Necker Island — a small island in the British Virgin Islands. All land on Necker Island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, which he purchased in 1978. He started building the home in 1982.

My office was based in the house and I have lost thousands of photographs and my note book which is very sad. But all family and friends are well – which in the end is all that really matters.

–Richard Branson (blog —

The home was built with local stone, Brazilian hardwoods; and included antiques, art pieces and fabrics with bamboo furniture from Bali. Architects and designers created a 10-bedroom Balinese-style villa crowning a hill above the beach.

Richard Branson posted this video on his personal YouTube channel — taken by an unknown person on the island.

The Branson family is still planning to have a wedding of Branson’s daughter, Holly, to her fiancée Freddie Andrewes on Necker Island beach. Richard Branson and his wife Joan were also married on Necker Island. Larry Page, Google co-founder married Lucy Southworth on the island in early December 2007.

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Satellite view of Necker Island.

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Map of Necker Island.