Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wednesday night in Sheffield and this will be our fourth night here. I think I’m over the jet lag now, and tired at the time of day that I usually get tired.

I love Sheffield, could live here. The mix of old and new, shabby and grand, I find complementary mainly. I like the way the city rolls, literally, uphill and down dale. After getting off the bus and walking the rest of the way back from Broomehill today, my head down and watching the pavement for a while, I looked up to cross a road and to my left I saw rolling green hills. I got such a shock because the vibe was Brunswick street in my head, and as you all know, there ain't no rolling green hills off Brunswick street.

Park Hill. Where did all those people go? Are they happier elsewhere, is life better? What a strange ghost town. I feel a little bitter on behalf of the former residence. I’ve always felt a deep sadness when an old house is knocked down as I think of the babies who may have once been born there, family laid out on their death beds, the times of joy and strife that a house contains over the years. And when it’s bulldozed, that’s it, it’s gone for good and all that history with it, and no one whose new to the area will know, or be able to imagine from what it looks like, what lives may have been lived there and that once it was home ground. I felt the same sadness at Park Hill even though the buildings are still there and we know it was rough. I’m glad that Urban Splash have taken on the project, I believe in rejuvenation, but I baulk at the big man coming in and taking over to clean up the neighbourhood and while he’s at it make as much profit as he can. I’m not clear on why I feel angry at the use of someone’s declaration of love and proposal of marriage written on a sky bridge as a marketing tool. That came loud and proud from someone’s heart, it was written shamelessly and with such vulnerability in a place I imagine once was a tough place to be those things. It’s disrespectful, opportunistic, and ugly to exploit it.  As a terminal romantic, I love it anyway, but for what it was, not for what it is. It may well be the most beautiful thing to be exhibited from Park Hill to the wider world when people once lived there, but I think my point is we may well never know because everything else has been all swept away, tinned up, moved on.  
- Anna Hardinge (Bachelor of Community Development)


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