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


Client: George Hurst & Sons Ltd

The former Anns Grove School is made up of three Grade II listed Victorian School Board 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 the team behind the new redevelopment, Heeley Trust. The Heeley Trust had the vision to transform the derelict school into a “hive of creative activity” for the surrounding community. The building is now known as “SUM Studios”. Timberwise were requested to carry out a full timber and damp survey on the property.

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 years, as a result, the building was exposed to the elements and ultimately fell into a state of disrepair. Parts of the roof were open and had become a nesting/breeding ground for pigeons resulting in a substantial amount of pigeon guano. Missing slates, guttering and other rainwater goods had allowed for a substantial amount of water ingress over the years.

As water had been allowed to free flow into the property, a severe dry rot and wet rot outbreak affected many areas of the timber all through the building and severely damaged all internal plastering and many other areas of internal decoration.

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. This had led to lateral water ingress through the walls, which was causing general issues of damp and degradation to 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 Timberwise Technicians removed all infected timber in order to gain direct access to the area under attack. The timber was treated using a fungicide paste in order to prevent further attacks of wood rotting fungi and in some cases, parts of the roof’s timber were removed and replaced together.

In all of the specialist works that Timberwise 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.

Once re-slated, and the valley and perimeter gutters made watertight, Timberwise could then commence the necessary internal masonry sterilisation works. The building needed to be watertight to ensure that the dry rot could be treated effectively as well as safeguarding against future outbreaks.


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: