Report - - Park Hill Flats, Sheffield - October 2012 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Park Hill Flats, Sheffield - October 2012


Boring Bearded Bastard
28DL Full Member

Park Hill Flats, Sheffield.

Visited with aem, Kaplan, mstarmatt, Muttley, *********** & non-member Josh.

After a recent visit to a couple of Sheffields finest derps with ***********, I was invited to join him and the other Sheffield lads for an evening of claustrophobia and sightseeing. Of course, I was only too happy to accept. Our target for the evening was the infamous Park Hill Flats, the iconic estate of council flats which overlooks Sheffield city centre.


Condensed history courtesy of the ever-factual Wikipedia:
[Park Hill Flats was] built between 1957 and 1961, and in 1998 was given Grade II* listed building status. Following a period of decline, the estate is being renovated by developers Urban Splash.

Following the war it was decided that a radical scheme needed to be introduced to deal with rehousing the Park Hill community. To that end architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith began work in 1945 designing the Park Hill Flats. Inspired by Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation and the Smithsons' unbuilt schemes, most notably for Golden Lane in London, the deck access scheme was viewed as revolutionary at the time. The style is known as brutalism. Construction is of an exposed concrete frame with yellow, orange and red brick curtain walling.

Although initially popular and successful, over time the fabric of the building has decayed somewhat and some other disadvantages of the estate, such as poor noise insulation and easy getaway routes for muggers, have become apparent. For many years, the council have had difficulty finding tenants for the flats.

Despite the problems, the complex remains structurally sound, unlike many of the system built blocks of the era, and controversially was Grade II* listed in 1998 making it the largest listed building in Europe.

A part-privatisation scheme by the developer Urban Splash in partnership with English Heritage to turn the flats into upmarket apartments, business units and social housing is now underway. Two blocks (including the North Block, the tallest part of the buildings) have been cleared, leaving only their concrete shell.

The explore

Reconnaissance had already been undertaken by the Sheffield lads and a previous explore had proved the theories regarding access. The objective this time was to reach the rooftop of one of the tallest blocks which directly overlooks the city centre.

Mine being a last minute invitation and not knowing the full details, I just went with the flow. Probably for the best as, if I'd known just how much climbing was involved I may have had second thoughts. Access was counterintuitive to say the least. To go up, first we had to go down, but to go down first we had to go up :banghead After lots of climbing, dodging, squeezing, more climbing, stooping, stepping through manky water and a few dead ends, we had one more nightmare of a climb. Finally, after a heart-stopping moment involving falling debris inside the tightest service shaft imaginable, we were there.

Upon seeing the view of Sheffield city centre, all lit up like a christmas tree, all that climbing and squeezing was suddenly so worth it.

The photographs

Unfortunately I didn't get any shots inside the shafts or tunnels, as at the time I saw them as more of a means to an end. I didn't even get any externals, so it's just rooftop views from me.

Gratuitous selfie







Clare Middleton I love you will u marry me

Secret seven

It was great to see Muttley & *********** again and it was an absolute pleasure to meet and explore with the other Sheffield lads. I hope it was the first of many.

Ta very much :)

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