A school project with a difference as student designs and builds replica dinosaur in his back garden


While most 16-year-old boys spend their free time playing video games or watching TV after a hard day at college, William Wisson-Burton decided to try something a little different.


The Hills Road Sixth Form College student used up all of his free time building a replica Allosaurus at his house in Godmanchester, as part of his extended project qualification.

The project took William about 10 months to complete and measures an eye-watering 27 ft long and 9ft high, weighing in at 420kg.

The youngster said he had always wanted to be a palaeontologist and so decided to build the replica, which he has named ‘Big Al’, out of scrap metal to submit towards his qualification.

William is studying A Level biology, geology and maths, even constructed some special roller skates for the dinosaur so he could wheel it in and out of his workshop.

William with the dinosaur

William with the dinosaur - Credit: Archant

William’s mum, Susie, said: “Since the age of about three William has always had a very keen interest in dinosaurs and where most children grow out of it, he has grown into it and from the age of seven has had the ambition to become a palaeontologist.

“This love of dinosaurs has grown with him and so when his college said he could do anything for his extended project he asked if this idea was okay.

Most Read

“William is completely self-taught, he made himself a small forge last summer and has been using it ever since.

“He has been practising his welding, only taking the slight advice on what settings to use, for example when he was trying to weald some particularly rusty metal.

The dinosaur on rollerskates

The dinosaur on rollerskates - Credit: Archant

“No-one has helped him. William sketched out his ideas and spent time around the farm searching for suitable pieces of metal, whether it was some tube for the legs or bar for the arms that he could heat up and shape.

“We didn’t have a chain strong enough on the farm so William contacted Drake Towage in Wisbech who kindly donated some rusty chain of a suitable size and length. Once he laid that out on the floor and shaped it he then proceeded to weld it into place. From there he made a stand to hang from whilst he created the rest of the dinosaur.”

William used old agricultural parts from his family farm as well as scrap metal to complete his creation.

The teenager, a former student at Swavesey Village College, now has to transport his project to school on a truck and trailer where it will be displayed for staff and students to give feedback.