Destroying dry rot to create “hive of creative activity” for the Heeley community


Client: George Hurst & Sons Ltd

The former Anns Grove School is made up of several Victorian buildings overlooking the Heeley Millennium Park. The buildings and stone boundary walls belong to the greatest collection of surviving Victorian School Board architecture outside of London, complete with the Victorian innovation of a natural ventilation system. The long history of the old school is very important to the local people and Timberwise were requested to carry out a full timber and damp survey as the derelict school was to be transformed into a “hive of creative activity” for the surrounding community.

Did you know?

Heeley is a former cluster of villages now a suburb in the south of the City of Sheffield, England. The village has existed at least since 1343, its name deriving from Heah Leah, High Lea then Hely, meaning a high, woodland clearing.  


Anns Grove had been empty for seven years, meaning the building was allowed to decay. Certain parts of the roof were open and had become a nesting/breeding ground for pigeons resulting in a substantial amount of pigeon guano. This required specialist removal due to the potentially extreme health issues. Missing slates, guttering and other rainwater goods, which combined with the general overall poor degree of maintenance, had allowed a substantial amount of water ingress over the years.

As water had been allowed to free flow into the property over many years before any form of conversion was attempted, a severe outbreak of Dry rot affected many areas of the timber all through the building. Furthermore, because other external works had taken place over the years, the external ground level/pavement was higher than the internal floor level of the cellar, which had led to the ingress of water laterally through the walls, which again was causing general issues of damp and degradation to the building.

As well as dry rot, the severe amount of water had also caused wet rot and severely damaged all internal plastering and many other areas of internal decoration. In all commercial buildings and, in particular, the ones that have undergone a number of changes over the years, Timberwise always checks for any sign of the use of the asbestos. The customer is made aware that if during the works any asbestos in uncovered, work must cease immediately the customer and the relevant authorities must be made aware.

The asbestos must be removed by a specialist dry rot company and in such circumstances only when we have been given the green light are we able to carry on and complete in the full knowledge that all of this asbestos has been safely removed from the building.

With our Yeadon office close by, it’s always a key priority to help become active the community and having a thriving community hub is an important way of enabling that. We look forward to developers and local residents raising further funds to create an inter-generational community hub at the heart of Heeley

Martin Wilkinson - Remedial Surveyor and Waterproofing Design Specialist CSRT CSSW

The roof was stripped back, and the timbers were checked and replaced/treated where necessary. Once re-slated, and the valley and perimeter gutters made watertight, Timberwise could then commence the necessary internal masonry sterilisation works to ensure that we have fully eradicated the Dry rot.

The careful inspection and removal of all Dry rot affected timbers had to be undertaken with complete diligence, and the timbers fully removed where infected. In all cases, Timberwise removed 500 mm past the last sign of an outbreak to ensure that all potentially affected timber had been stripped from the building.

In all of the specialist works that we undertake the eradication and treatment for Dry rot is potentially the most difficult. It requires a very skilled survey and investigation team to work together in assessing and removing/treating all affected areas to ensure there are no further outbreaks and that once completed the building can be reinstated in the full knowledge that it will stand the test of time, thus giving it a completely new useful lease of life.


The client’s site contains three listed buildings, in which Timberwise carried out a series of remedial works over the years, two of which are still planned for future development. This will include artist and makers’ studios, a rehearsal hall, and further business space as well as a home for events and performances.

Speak To Our Dry Rot Specialists

Timberwise fully appreciates it is imperative that all areas of dampness are identified as timbers within these areas will be at risk to rot developing if such timbers are not fully protected from either the moisture or the rot itself. We are also aware that where dampness is identified and where there may be hidden timbers these may have already rotted. However, previously decayed wood where rot is now dead may sometimes be found in areas that have dried out and if structurally sound or of no importance these may be left provided they can be maintained dry.

If you are concerned about the possibility of a dry rot outbreak in your property, do not hesitate to give Timberwise a call on 0800 288 8660, or alternatively, you can request a survey. By having a dry rot survey through Timberwise will be able to identify the full extent of the dry rot problem and determine whether further dry rot treatments are necessary.

You can also check out our pages related to wood rot problems in your property:

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