Yesterday I did some interviews with the people of Sheffield about their thoughts on the Park Hill estate with another student in the course. We are using the material for our group presentation and I had rented out a video camera from the library in order to film the interviews that I will edit together at a later stage. People in Sheffield have varying thoughts on the Park Hill estate yet at the core they have the same general feelings about the place.
Most of the people we interviewed said that Park Hill was a place they were scared to go when they were younger, that it was known for being a bad area and one they avoided at all costs. One older lady and her daughter who had lived on the estate back when it was first built until today told us about how originally the estate was an amazing, vibrant place to live with a real sense of community when it was first built. She told us that the estate was not maintained correctly and less favourable people began to move in which was when their crime rates started to go up, leading to the reputation it has gained today. She recounted a story of going out shopping one day only to see a man jump from a higher landing and commit suicide on the estate.
Opposed to this, a man we talked to worked as a janitor back when the estate was still fully being used. He said that there had been 12 men working the shifts at any one time, tidying the place up and that he always felt safe there. He talked about how the estate had a real feeling of community and how the ‘streets in the sky’ had been a good place to talk to people and he thought a great idea of the developers. He talked about how when the residents were moved out of the estate into houses there were some issues that arose like the fact that the residents didn’t take care of their gardens at their new houses and so the gardens became overgrown, resulting in some of them being taken to court and fined. He believed the residents should have been moved to more apartments rather than separate housing and so far away from where they had made their homes. Some people that we interviewed felt that it was a good idea to try and improve the Park Hill estate and indeed a lot of the participants had looked up the estate online to see what Urban Splash, the company in charge of remodelling the estate was planning to do with it and seemed to approve of the ideas. Only a few of the people we talked to believe the estate to be a lost cause. It was interesting to hear what so many different people thought about the Park Hill estate, those that have lived their whole lives in Sheffield, those that have moved here recently and those who were only visiting. For the most part the reaction to the progress of remodelling the estate appears to be positive, even if the estate is having trouble finding people who want to live there. The hope that the Park Hill apartments can be revived seems to be possible with the positive attitude so many people have to the property.- Nicole Riley (Bachelor of Arts)