Unforgettable Project Memories: 008

The importance of preserving history

By Sandra Hugo, Senior Associate Director – Melbourne

Undoubtedly one of my most memorable projects must be the redevelopment of Hayes Point (former Sully Hospital) in Sully, Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales. The reason being, this was the first project I worked on, and the lessons I learned built a strong foundation at the start of my career and instilled guidelines and principles which I still use to this day.

The history behind the project

Working for the Client (developer and main contractor) for the Project, I was based on site for more than two (2) years.

During this time, I became aware of the fascinating history of the former hospital. [1]

  • Sully Hospital was designed by William Pite, Son and Fairweather, an architectural practice of London.
  • Constructed between 1932-1936, it was officially opened by the Duke of Kent on 6 November 1936.
  • Founded by the King Edward VII National Memorial Association, it is considered the last institute established for the treatment and eradication of tuberculosis.
  • In 1948, the hospital was taken over by the Welsh Hospital Board and developed as a general hospital which played a considerable role in treating wartime casualties including evacuees from Dunkirk.

The hospital had a capacity of 300 beds, operating theatre, a nurses’ home with 132 bedrooms, kitchen and medical staff quarters, mortuary and a main spinal corridor connecting the three (3) blocks or main buildings (now known as Woodlands, Courtlands and Headlands).


“Entering some of the areas often felt like we were characters in a Stephen King book”


Sometimes we found the history of the buildings a bit too confronting.

Being a listed building, it prohibited demolition, which meant that the old hospital mortuary would be turned into a café. This idea did not receive much enthusiasm from the Project Team.

In later years, the hospital was used as a psychiatric facility. Therefore, clearing some of the areas meant stripping out padded rooms, and removing surgical equipment including autopsy tables and freezers from the mortuary.

Entering some of the areas often felt like we were characters in a Stephen King book (but not in a good way). Just to be safe and as a rule, site walks were only done in daylight.


“Whilst extended and redeveloped, Hayes Point is still considered to be one of the best representations of Modern Movement style sanatoriums in Britain, and one of the last great Modernist landmarks remaining in the whole of Wales”


Given the history of the former hospital, great care was taken by the Design Team (Atkins Walter Webster) during the redevelopment of Hayes Point to preserve key details and characteristics of the original building.

Whilst extended and redeveloped, Hayes Point is still considered to be one of the best representations of Modern Movement style sanatoriums in Britain and one of the last great Modernist landmarks remaining in the whole of Wales. Listed as a Grade II heritage building, it remains an example of inter-war architecture which has survived almost unaltered. The redevelopment removed some of the derelict and unsafe elements within the site and new buildings have been added. These were designed in a contemporary style to complement the existing Modernist style. [3]

The Project involved a residential development (circa. £30m scheme) to refurbish and extend the existing Sully Hospital buildings to provide 245 new luxury apartments and new community facilities. The extensions comprised several ancillary wings (to Woodlands and Courtlands) including a lightweight steel framed roof to form an extra storey throughout the three-storey wing overlooking the sea (Headlands). The development comprised land and buildings totalling around 57 ha, overlooking the Severn Channel.


For the Client, it was important to source locally. This meant using local labour, suppliers, and subcontractors (as far as was practically possible) to stimulate the community and surrounding areas.

This involved assisting some of the smaller subcontractors and / or suppliers in the following ways:

  • Providing support during the tender preparations and contract stage;
  • Offering templates for tracking the progress of works on site;
  • Providing updated tracking schedules and quantities for works completed on site;
  • Assisting in compiling the necessary documents to support the payment applications; and
  • Offering shorter payment intervals to assist with cashflow.

I saw firsthand that using a collaborative approach and certain measures to assist smaller subcontractors and / or suppliers can be a great advantage to any project. However, it is important to carry out the necessary due diligence and have protective measures in place if something goes wrong.


It is important to consider the scope and type of work involved and how it is detailed and documented. The redevelopment comprised refurbishment and new build, however, drawings often only detail new build elements or the end product. Some trades, such as render repair and stitch repair comprised significant patch works to the facades. None of which was shown on the drawings. Here, the quantity surveying team devised methods to track and trace the repair works, taking photographs, including cross referencing marked-up drawings and measurements by date to document the progress on site. It is important to accurately document repair works as soon as it is completed, as the next day it might be concealed, and the true extent could be difficult to understand.

Occasionally, with older buildings and refurbishment works it seems that progress can go backwards. On my daily site walk I updated the progress of drylining to an apartment, only to see everything taken down the next day because of rain ingress and water damage. The importance of keeping good and accurate site records cannot be over stressed. It often feels like a waste of time, however when a disagreement or dispute arises you quickly realise what a useful and valuable tool it can be to accurately demonstrate the progress of works on site.


Being relatively inexperienced at the time, I was fortunate enough to work in a Project Team who provided a safe environment where we could ask questions and seek advice. We were allowed enough freedom to manage the workload and work product how we saw fit, with the Project Team creating a blame free space to learn from our mistakes. Creating and maintaining a healthy environment and supportive culture is so important and beneficial to any workplace.

Looking back, it was great to be part of this Project and to see a somewhat derelict building being updated and restored to its former glory.


[1] About Hayes Point (2017), available at: https://www.hayespoint.co.uk/about/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Entire Stock Disposal (not dated), available at: http://media.rightmove.co.uk/93k/92846/brochure_PDF_00.pdf.

2021-07-08T02:30:11+00:00 July 8th, 2021|News, Unforgettable Project Memories|0 Comments