Return to Park Hill

Growing up in a small seaside town, I had no experience of what it was like to live in a city, let alone a large tower block. At the time the images and stories of tower blocks and council estates in large cities were overall very negative. High crime rates, riots, drug use and antisocial behaviour appeared to be the norm, to me at the time it seemed a different world to the one I was used to.

Now living just out side of Sheffield and regularly getting the train into the city centre, you cannot help but notice the late 1950’s brutal architecture which is Park Hill, it dominates the skyline above the train station. I often wondered as I gazed up, who lives there now, has things changed and what it would be like to live there now.

I was thrilled and apprehensive at the same time when the opportunity arose to document the Park Hill estate as part of a wider photography project for the RPS. I should not have been concerned as Park Hill is going under a major regeneration, the flats have now a modern feel and are light and airy, with commanding views across the city. The people we met during our time there were warm and welcoming, happy to talk about life living on the estate.

My goal was to document the transformation of the Park Hill estate from the rundown crumbling eyesore of the late 80’s to 21st century modern living, the creation of new student accommodation and the people who now live there. It put to bed in my mind the notion that these places are somewhere that you should avoid, but Park Hill now is a vibrant place to live and visit.