The flats at Park Hill were built as part of a post-war housing project throughout Sheffield. Park Hill was one of several ‘streets in the sky’ schemes which sought to solve the problem of the growing post-war population in Sheffield.
The Park Hill development replaced slum housing, which I have read was known as ‘Little Chicago’ and was demolished due to violent crimes. The design of Park Hill was Inspired by Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille and was designed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith under the supervision of Sheffield Council’s J. L. Womersley. Construction began in 1957 and was completed by 1961.
The flats were called ‘streets in the sky’ as the decks were three meter wide, wide enough for cars to pass through. However, the streets were free from traffic, apart from the milk float and were wide enough to encourage neighbourly interaction. There was a whole community for residents which included a pub, shops, school, health centre, dentist and social club.
By the 1980s, Park Hill and the other 1960s developments had gained somewhat of a reputation. The flats were blamed for rising crime and a lack of maintenance had left the buildings in a bad way. Whilst many of the other developments have been demolished, Park Hill was given a Grade II Listing in 1998, making it the largest listed building in Europe. In 2009, Urban Splash in partnership with English Heritage began work on renovating Park Hill.
I would love to know what you think about Park Hill. I posted a picture a few years ago on Instagram and a lot of people commented that it was an eyesore and should have been knocked down. I personally like Brutalist architecture and think that Park Hill is part of the identity of Sheffield. I also think that when you read the little quotes on the stone pillars, it really gives the place a personable feeling.
There are a lot of urbex videos that were made prior to the renovations on YouTube. If you are interested, you can see how the building looked before the renovations began.
Thank you for reading.
Below are two urbex videos that I found on YouTube.