The big read: Talented photographers aim to bring Sheffield's Park Hill flats' 60th anniversary into sharp focus

It is an iconic building that is synonymous with Sheffield – and now a new photographic competition will record history as Park Hill marks its 60th anniversary next week.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:28 pm

Thursday June 16, 2021, will mark the 60th anniversary of the flats that serve as a ‘welcome home’ symbol for residents from their hilltop position towering over Sheffield’s city centre – as well as being Britain’s largest Grade II* listed building.

Park Hill Residents Association, in support with developers Urban Splash and Places for People, are now holding a competition for residents and workers at the complex to mark 60 years since the completion of the sprawling apartment complex that shadows Sheffield city centre’s railway station.

A selection of entries will be included in 60 copies of a limited edition photobook of the estate’s 60th anniversary and these will be available to purchase with profits returned to the association.

New sculptures being installed at Park Hill in Shefifield. Pictured are Maddie Munro, Cameron Bailey, and Matt Retchless. Picture: Chris Etchells

Park Hill Association treasurer Jonathan Kaplan told the Sheffield Telegraph: “We could not let the 60th anniversary pass by without marking it in some way with the residents’ association.

"There have been photographic competitions before but this follows on because we will be producing something permanent through the photo book and these images will be preserved for someone to look at in another 60 years.”

The competition theme is ‘Park Hill in 2021 through the eyes of the people who live and work there’ which provides an opportunity to document the estate during a period of ongoing changes and renovations.

A copy of the limited edition photobook will be presented to Sheffield City library as a permanent record and there will be an exhibition at Weston Park Museum including a selection of entries.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. New works by Kid Acne. Picture: Chris Etchells

The Park Hill development was designed by architects John Lynn and Ivor Smith, inspired by French architect Le Corbusier's Unite d'habitation - known as 'streets in the sky'.It was the first successful slum clearance scheme of an entire community after World War Two and once built, was hailed as the most ambitious inner city development of its time as well as being a very different way of rehousing local residents.

Famously, the decks outside were wide enough for milk floats to deliver door to door.As well as having 1,000 flats there were plenty of shops, a school and doctor’s surgery, plus more facilities for residents.

By the 1980s it had become run down and to many, a byword for crime in the city.

It became a Grade II listed building in 1998 and the long process of regenerating it is being undertaken by developers Urban Splash.With support from English Heritage Park Hill is becoming a complex of private, rented, shared ownership properties, student housing and social housing.There are 260 homes completed, a restaurant on site, South Street Kitchen, and a nursery, with other new businesses opening too. Artist Kid Acne held an exhibition there in 2019, and new sculptures were recently unveiled at the site.

Pictured is Sheffield's famous Park Hill flats which shadow the city's railway station.

Today towering Park Hill has become one of Sheffield’s most commonly depicted and iconic scenes, and is also much loved by fans of Brutalist architecture.

Mr Kaplan added: “Residents are quite privileged because we always see the building in different light and weather conditions that other people who visit do not.

"Park Hill attracts a lot of creative people and there are a number of creative businesses here too so fingers-crossed the competition should attract a good deal of entries.”

The photographic competition is open to anyone living or working at Park Hill or students staying at Béton House for the academic year.

Tour of the on going works on Park Hill. New works by Kid Acne. Picture: Chris Etchells

Judges will include Association Chairman and award-winning artist Ernest Edmonds, artist and winner of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2014 Mandy Payne, graphic designer Martin Dust, and Sheffield photographer Sean Madner.

Entrants can submit up to three photographs.

Photo files should be uploaded to https://cloud.parkhill.estate/s/XTP7AnrxRR5zj8W and each should be named with the following information in the order shown and separated by spaces including the entrant’s name, address, and photo title.

Entrants must then email their name to [email protected] to link contact details with entries which must be submitted by July 10, 2021.

The winner will receive a framed A3 print of their photograph, edition number one of the photobook, inclusion in the Weston Park Museum exhibition as well as having their photograph displayed on billboards at Sheffield Railway Station courtesy of JCDecaux UK Ltd. Two runners-up will receive framed A4 prints of their photograph, editions of the photobook and inclusion in the Weston Park Museum exhibition.

See next week’s Telegraph for more on the 60th anniversary of Park Hill.

Youngsters looking over the new Park Hill flats in the 1960s