[Before I begin, please note, I’m no expert on Park Hill Flats and until this week I knew nothing about them, so forgive me if you know more than I do and I have got any facts wrong.Â I think the following is fairly accurate though…]
Park Hill Flats were built in the late 1950s to re-house entire streets of people from one of Sheffield’s poorest slums into “streets in the sky”.Â The scheme attracted a lot of attention, both nationally and internationally and was considered a pioneering project. However, within 15-years or so the level of poverty had not improved, and the high concentration of people meant that the level of crime and overall living conditions were if anything worse than the days when the slums were at ground level.Â Many of England’s (visually, at least) similar high rise residential blocks have since been pulled down, but those in the Park Hill area were given Grade II listed status in 1998.Â Since then there has been a move to renovate the flats, but at present they are in a curious state.
Now in 2009, while some of the neighbouring blocks of flats have been gutted with a view to renovation, the bulk of Park Hill estate is mostly unpopulated, and boarded up, with just one wing still being occupied by tenants.Â This wing, and three unpopulated wings, form a horseshoe with a grassy embankment sloping down into the curve.Â This accidental amphitheatre was chosen by Warp Records for a cinematic event as part of the label’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Continue reading