Sheffield’s Park Hill flats added to endangered buildings on latest Heritage at Risk Register

Park Hill flats in Sheffield (pic: Soreen D [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr)
Park Hill flats in Sheffield (pic: Soreen D [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr)

Sheffield’s Park Hill flats have been added to the endangered buildings on Historic England’s latest Heritage at Risk Register.

The iconic housing block overlooking the city centre is one of three new entries within Sheffield on this year's list of imperilled buildings and other structures or sites, which was published today.

Beehive Works on Milton Street in Sheffield city centre (pic:  Historic England Archive, Alu)

Beehive Works on Milton Street in Sheffield city centre (pic: Historic England Archive, Alu)

The other new additions are Beehive Works on Milton Street, near Devonshire Green, in the city centre, and Globe Works, on Penistone Road in Kelham Island – both former cutlery works which have been partially restored but require further work.

READ MORE: Park Hill flats – ‘preparatory work’ begins on second phase of major Sheffield redevelopment

While their inclusion might at first appear worrying, it could prove a positive step by helping secure the additional funding needed to prevent them sliding further into dilapidation and save them for future generations to enjoy.

When the first list was published in 1998, it contained 15 entries within Sheffield, all of which have since been saved and removed from the register - offering hope to the current crop.

Globe Works on Penistone Road in Kelham Island (pic: Mick Knapton CC from Wikimedia Commons)

Globe Works on Penistone Road in Kelham Island (pic: Mick Knapton CC from Wikimedia Commons)

They included Manor Lodge, Cornish Place Works in Kelham Island and the three glass houses at Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

READ MORE: Meet the developers turning listed Sheffield cutlery works into 100 apartments

Jane Jackson, Heritage at Risk principal in Yorkshire, said: “Over the past 20 years we have used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention.

“We have dedicated time, expertise and money to bring cherished places back into use and we are proud to have played our part in saving them from neglect.

Park Hill (pic: James O. Davies/English Heritage)

Park Hill (pic: James O. Davies/English Heritage)

“Despite the successes, other places continue to fall into disrepair. They have been added to this year’s Register and we will focus our attention on them in the years ahead.”

Park Hill was built in the late 1950s to replace slums, and the ‘streets in the sky’ - as it was known – was hailed as a ground-breaking approach to designing council housing estates.

It gained an unwanted reputation over the years and fell into dereliction but has enjoyed a renaissance in recent times, with the developer Urban Splash transforming parts of the huge site into some of the city's most sought-after residences.

Mark Latham Regeneration Director at Urban Splash said: “Urban Splash continue the regeneration of Park Hill working closely with partners that include Sheffield City Council and Historic England. 

The gateway to Green Lane Works in Kelham Island (pic:  Historic England Archive, Alu)

The gateway to Green Lane Works in Kelham Island (pic: Historic England Archive, Alu)

“The first phase is complete and at present we have over 600 people living and working at Park Hill. We are about to start work on the next phases that will provide more apartments and commercial space, plus student town houses with development partner Alumno.”

Its profile received a further boost when scenes from the new series of Doctor Who were filmed there but although work on the latest phase of regeneration are getting underway there remains much to be done and parts of the building continue to decay.

The entry on the register states: “Being added means further specialist advice and funding opportunities can be explored to guarantee the future of the site.”

The Grade II*-listed Beehive Works date back to the late 1800s and was a purpose-built cutlery factory but as the industry declined has been converted to host a mix of workshops, offices and a recording studio.

While much of the works has been repaired over recent years, the four-storey workshop at the back of the site is in a parlous state, having sustained structural movement and water damage.

Historic England says it is working closely with the owners and recently provided a grant to help establish the costs of repairs needed and draw up plans for a viable future use.

The clock at Green Lane Works in Kelham Island (pic:  Historic England Archive, Alu)

The clock at Green Lane Works in Kelham Island (pic: Historic England Archive, Alu)

The site is owned by brothers Philip and Andrew Jay, whose father Brian and grandfather Harold were the previous custodians.

Philip said: “Being added to the register is good news for us because at first we didn't know what to do about the building, and working with Historic England has been a great process.

“This is a beautiful building which is part of Sheffield’s heritage but has become more and more rundown over the years, and we’re looking at how not just to repair the building but to make it a vibrant place again like it was for most of last century.”

Globe Works, which dates from 1825, is Sheffield’s earliest known surviving example of a purpose-built cutlery and edge tool works, according to Historic England.

While the front of the complex is occupied and in a good condition, the entry on the register states, the rear ranges are derelict and in need of repair.

Historic England can help save endangered buildings by offering grants, technical advice and other support but it relies in many cases on what it calls the 'sheer dogged determination’ of local communities, charities, owners and partners.

The resurgence of Kelham Island, which has been transformed in parts from an industrial wasteland to one of Sheffield’s trendiest and most desirable neighbourhoods, has been hailed by the organisation as an example of what can be achieved.

It points out how the restoration of historic buildings at Green Lane and Eagle Works, for which Historic England has provided grants and support to Leeds-based developer Citu, has helped this once-thriving industrial heartland has got its mojo back 

The Grade II*-listed gateway to Green Lane Works, for example was finally removed from the register last year and now serves at the entrance to a ‘vibrant’ mixed use site.

Historic England says this development shows the potential for the re-use of former industrial buildings and how they can ‘significantly contribute to a sense of place, creating an attractive place to live and work’.

Across Yorkshire over the past year, Historic England has provided grants totalling more than £936,000 to help revive ‘at risk’ sites.

The full list of Sheffield sites on the Heritage at Risk Register

Furnace Hill

Hillsborough Park

Kelham Island

Little Matlock rolling mill, Bradfield

Castle Hill motte and bailey castle, High Bradfield

Bower Spring cementation furnace – structural and below ground remains of a cementation furnace

Bailey Hill motte and bailey castle, High Bradfield

Handlands Romano-British settlement near Woodseats Farm, Ecclesfield

Roman Ridge between Jenkin Road and Tylers Street

Bower Spring cementation furnace – remains of two early 19th century cementation furnaces

Loxley United Reformed Church, Bradfield

Park Hill flats

Beehive Works, Milton Street

Seventh Day Adventist Church adjoining school and boundary wall, Andover Street

Sheffield General Cemetery – registered park and garden

Cowell Flat prehistoric field system, Bradfield

Sheffield General Cemetery – conservation area

Globe Works, Penistone Road

Willow Garth moated site and fishpond, Ecclesfield

Iron age and Roman quern workings on Wharncliffe Rocks, Stocksbridge

Leah’s Yard, Cambridge Street

Church of St Mary, Howard Road

Oakes Park

Well Meadow

Old Hall Farmhouse, Bradfield

Church of St Paul, Wordsworth Avenue

The Gatehouse Cafe on Alma Street in Kelham Island, which Historic England hailed as one of many success stories in the area (pic:  Historic England Archive, Alu)

The Gatehouse Cafe on Alma Street in Kelham Island, which Historic England hailed as one of many success stories in the area (pic: Historic England Archive, Alu)