Report - - Park Hill Flats - Sheffield - July 2014 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Park Hill Flats - Sheffield - July 2014


Is this the future?
Regular User
Park Hill is a former inner city council housing estate and was developed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith in 1945. The concrete monolith was later constructed between 1957 and 1961, in response to large-scale social housing problems which were further augmented as a result of World War II. The concept for the flats was based on the revolutionary modernist architectural movement known as ‘Brutalism’; a method that was favoured by the government and local authorities owing to the very large concrete and fortress-like design that communicates functionality, materiality and measures as a symbol of strength. Nonetheless, the Park Hill development was also designed with ‘community spirit’ as a central focus, therefore, former neighbours were re-homed together along decks which were renamed after the old street names of the terraced site that once existed there up until the 1930’s. This concept derives from another architectural style known as ‘streets in the sky’, a method that originated to replace streets of dilapidated terraced housing. It was envisioned that the residents living within the utopian structure could live their day-to-day lives without ever having to touch the floor or, at the very least, leave the premises because the underlying idea sought to provide everything on-site, including: a shopping precinct, a primary school and nursery, several pubs, recreational green spaces and even decks wide enough to allow floats to drive within the structure. Likewise, the structure was intentionally designed with a panopticon-style strategy, a common method assumed by many high security prisons, as the initiative deliberately ensures that people are unable to discern when they are being watched – whether this be by a guard or others in a social setting. In practice, people are known to effectively and continuously control their own behaviours, insofar that the ‘community spirit’ is able to manage social behaviour efficiently.

For many years Park Hill flourished as a strong community and many former residents continue to feel a certain affection towards the flats, as they afford reminders of nostalgic and sentimental pasts. Yet, it is widely reported that life and the ‘community spirit’ gradually deteriorated within the flats as resident security weakened and anti-social behaviour progressively escalated, to the extent that the entire estate decayed; both physically and socially. It is rumoured that the Park Hill estate ultimately adopted the nickname ‘San Quentin’ – an infamous American jail. Subsequently, the council found it increasingly difficult to find tenants for the flats that were becoming ever more vacant. By the 1980’s large-scale unemployment transpired as the City’s famous steel industry collapsed, and Park Hill crumpled with it. One by one, pubs were rapidly boarded up, burned out cars and graffiti became commonplace, muggings along the many alleys increased considerably, drug problems escalated and there were even rumours of air rifle snipers shooting residents and their children in the primary school playground.

Since then, the post-war communities have disappeared and there are only around twelve of the original flats that remain occupied. Yet, despite the desertion, in 1998 Park Hall was registered as a grade II listed building and since then, in 2013, a company named Urban Splash has worked closely with English Heritage to renovate the flats, transforming them into contemporary residential apartments. Development work remains ongoing…

As the history indicates, Park Hill is a notorious location in Sheffield, and since we made it our task to try and cover Sheffield’s traditional and noteworthy sites, we felt that Park Hill deserved to be included. After initially scouting it out months ago, with the good intention of returning, we only just got round to revisiting. As anticipated, the site was unnervingly uninhabited and silent. As we walked through the unwelcoming structure many sounds of banging doors and windows from within the flats could be heard, and only the trees made steady groans in the night’s vexed breath. It was almost as though the troubles, disorder and social chaos has forever scarred the site, tarring it with an everlasting notion that every shadow, alleyway and darkened flat houses something terrible; a reminder of the lasting impact of human madness, corruption and immorality.

1: Flats Near Park Hill (From Stairwell)


2: Abandoned Deck/Walkway


3: Abandoned Lift and Stair Access Point


4: Inside a Flat's Kitchen


5: Inside a Flat's Bathroom


6: Sheffield's Night Time Sky


7: The Park Hill Estate at Night


8: Park Hill Flats - St. Paul's Tower on the Horizon


9: The City of Sheffield Beyond Park Hill


10: Urban Splash's New Development


11: The City of Sheffield


12: Late Night/Early Morning Shot


13: Across the Rooftop



Is this the future?
Regular User
you did not miss much down there mate place just looks trashed and on my last visit some fool had had a go at cutting the armored power cables along the wall must be crazy the power is still live down there :crazy
Yeah, the rooftop is the best bit. It was the same inside some of the flats, all the pipes and wiring have been torn out. Lots of live stuff going through that site too. :crazy

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