TEXT: Petra had the only key to the door at the top of the building. When everyone clocked off, the step clicks petered out around half five. Voices were sparse, and the machines hummed quietly. She would ascend, and with a hot tea in her left hand, open the door with her right, and watch the heavy sun cast a glow over the industrial estate. Thirty minutes of peace, her time.
Patrick gingerly ventured into the empty building. The door hadn’t been too difficult to budge. His hands felt grubby from the layered cobwebs and dust. Up the stairs and to the left. No clocking in this time. His old desk still sat in the small dank office, the door was ajar, his name etched on a bronze plaque. Patrick Flint, Manager. He hadn’t worked since.
Park Hill Estate Sheffield – Architects Jack Lynn & Ivor Smith
TEXT: So, we just get the banks to pay these claims. Perpetuate the madness?” “Yes, we can’t let consumerism fall, it keeps them happy, their aspirations can carry on. And our money will continue to come in. It’s like they have won the lottery. They get something back…you know?” “But…the banks, surely they won’t want to lose..” “Good grief, they make more money than you can imagine. They want to maintain this way of living. Sure, it got out of control but, you have to try and get it back. They will pay whatever it takes to maintain this way. Bonus’ depend on it for gods sake. They have to try”. “But what if it all collapses?” “We have to take that risk. If we do nothing it will all be lost anyway. So we put money into the pockets of the big spenders. They feel like they have been through a recession. In a few years they will loosen their belts and all of this, all of this money, it will be back in our hands, I assure you of that.”
Municipal neglect, combined with a lack of appreciation and pride from residents, a common thread across the UK for many years. Development over the last couple of decades has concentrated on throwing up brand new, uninspiring and bland architectural mundanity. Very recently there does seem a shift, I do hope it continues, what is the point if you stop dreaming?
Park Hill was opened in 1961, and replaced the ‘slum terraces’ with ‘streets in the sky’. While it was a conceptual and futuristic place, the estate actually drew ideas from traditional social requirements such as communal areas, pubs, schools, shops, and even walkways you could drive a milk float down. A popular place to live initially, within a couple of decades it had become run down, dangerous and was abandoned as a dated, failed experiment.