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Above & Below Park Hill Flats, Sheffield - October 2012
Having passed Park Hill Flats countless times over the past 18 year or so I've always fancied getting up on the roof so after managing to miss out on a trip here earlier in the year there was no way I was passing this opportunity up, especially with the knowledge of the access tunnels underneath.
Visited with aem, Muttley, ***********, JazzyWheel, and Kaplan.
In the nineteenth century the Park Hill area was made up of old quarries, untidy waste ground, steep alleyways and some of the worst slums in Sheffield. This densely populated area consisted of 2 or 3 storey back-to-back housing around central courtyards. Often there would be just one standpipe for around a hundred people. This, combined with the lack of any proper sewage system, allowed diseases such as typhus, dysentry and cholera to ravage the area. In 1864 back to back housing of this type was prohibited.
During the 1870's Sheffield Corporation built drains and sewers through the city. Although originally the untreated raw sewage was sent directly into the rivers, at least the sanitation within the housing areas like Park Hill was improved. During the 1880's the provision of water supplies passed from a private company to the corporation and the first sewage treatment plant was built.
Slum clearance began in the 1930â€™s but was halted by the 2nd World War. By the time the issue was reassessed in 1953, a radical solution was needed. This took the shape of Park Hill Flats, built between 1957 and 1960. The unique design was based on an idea by French architect Le Corbusier of creating â€˜Streets in the Skyâ€™. The 995 flats were built on top of a 1:10 gradient making them range from 4 storeys high at the top end to 13 storeys at the end nearest the city centre.
This layout allowed nearly all of the decks to reach ground at some point, meaning milk floats and other services could access them. The community feel of the previous traditional streets was recreated where possible by rehousing neighbours next to each other.
Park Hill Flats attracted worldwide attention and were praised for their innovative design. In December 1998 Park Hill Flats became Grade 2* listed giving it equal status to the Turret House at Sheffield Manor Lodge and making it the largest listed building in Europe.
History lifted straight from Sheff Council Website
A little more recent info on the regeneration
Well after a comical start of 6 blokes attempting to squeeze through a gap that clearly wasn't made for anyone to get through and dodging secca we somehow arrived in the service tunnels, well the others finally did when they chose the right route (Adam)
Once we were all in we made our way out of the dimly lit entrance almost crawling through what felt like a good 1/4 mile of tunnel until we could finally stand, this completely threw my sense of where feck we were on the site as there were too many corners to take note of.
As we moved through going up and down ladders to different levels in the tunnels it was obvious some of the waste pipes had leaked in the past so we made our best attempts not to stand in the puddles.
Around a corner and at the end of the tunnel there was light once again.
The pipework in this section looked a lot more modern.
Although some of the electrics didn't...
Quickly pose for a group shot and we're back on our way
A quick attempt was made to enter the service tunnels in the renovated section but ended in fail so we headed up on to the roof
The vertical service shafts are seriously confined, but at least if you slip you'll not be far from the ladder and more likely to get wedged than fall to the bottom.
Finally on the roof, what I'd been waiting for!
Luckily the views from the roof we got to were better than those from the renovated section
Finally finishing with another group shot with what looks like almost all of us in it.
Really enjoyed this, a nice change. Cheers all who came along