Thursday, 25 February 2010


Park Hill was opened in 1961 by Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party. Among the local worthies looking on was Roy Hattersley, chairman of the public works committee. The City Council published a brochure on the scheme which was in several languages, including Russian.

Life in Park Hill maintained a strong sense of community, which began in the terraced streets, neighbours we re-housed next to each other, the old street names were re-used (Gilbert Row, Long Henry Row, Norfolk Row and so on) and cobbles from the terraced streets surrounded the flats and paved the pathways down to the hill to Sheffield station and tramlines.

There was a vast improvement in quality of life for the residents in Park Hill when compared with the old, cramped and unsanitary slums, all the flats had mod cons and befitted from fitted kitchens, central heating and their own bathrooms, where as the slums used communal privies and coal burning fires. Each flat had a front door which looked out onto a twelve-foot wide access deck ('street'). The flats benefited from the provision of four pubs, plenty of shops (butcher, baker, bookie, laundrette, hardware shop, wallpaper shop, off licence, newsagent, fish & chip shop, gents and ladies hairdresser) as well as a nursery school, primary school, community centre, garages, doctor’s surgery, pharmacy and dentists. Keeping the old community value alive, everything was on their doorsteps and more convenient the ever, even the children could go out to play in any weather under the protection of the large verandas.

With a team of 12 caretakers employed by the council to live on-site until 2003, on call 24 hours a day to look after the building, pick up litter, collect rubbish, mend fix, mow and more. Lots of people loved living in Park Hill; "it's like being in heaven" said one early resident, while another said, "people look at us up here and think we live in a slum. They don't realise that I live in a penthouse looking out over the city." And Park Hill certainly has amazing views. You can see everything from Bramall Lane and Abbeydale Rd mosque to the Arts Tower and the Hallamshire Hospital, to the ski village. And beyond all that, the Peak District.

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