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Hyde Park Flats

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I myself only visited Hyde Park Flats a couple of times in the 60's,

so my memory of them is very vague.

So What are your memories of Hyde Park Flats,

did you live there or perhaps you had relations that did,

if so what what was life like on Hyde Park,

what were the pubs like, was there any shops?

Can you add any photographs?

Doing a search on the net, there is very little information available about the flats.

I'm sure some our members here on Sheffield History can help out,

Lets start with 'What year were they built'?

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I myself only visited Hyde Park Flats a couple of times in the 60's,

so my memory of them is very vague.

So What are your memories of Hyde Park Flats,

did you live there or perhaps you had relations that did,

if so what what was life like on Hyde Park,

what were the pubs like, was there any shops?

Can you add any photographs?

Doing a search on the net, there is very little information available about the flats.

I'm sure some our members here on Sheffield History can help out,

Lets start with 'What year were they built'?

Most pictures of Hyde Park flats show them from the town sitting high up on the hill behind the Park Hill flats (the two seem to be frequently confused).

Since 1991 the Hyde Parks flats have been partially demolished and partially renovated (initially for the world student games which we the taxpayers are still paying for almost 20 years later!!) and so now look totally different to what they did prior to that date.

In this 1974 picture the flats are viewed from the bottom of Manor lane, the opposite side to that normally seen and are in their original form.

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A couple of more modern views taken in 2006 from the canal at Sheaf Quays

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Believe it or not the design of the flats won high acclaim amongst European Architectural circles. I recall they were officially opened in 1966 and commissioned in 1960 - in less than 15 years they were deemed a failure as social housing.

I lived there for a while - the accommodation was adequate, free hot water and heating and a waste disposal unit in the kitchen sink.

However, with all the services running through the concrete there was a constant whining hum. On the higher floors, if the windows were open and the wind was up, either stuff was sucked out of the windows or you had to fight to get the front door open.

The lifts were unpleasant - the pubs were fine - the shop was OK - the best bit was just down the road was a fantastic chippy.

The flats were shaped like an open spiral and when the wind blew in a certain direction there was a vortex created where tin cans would dance through the night, setting up an eerie symphony with the drone of the internal services. One could look out of the window and see litter swirling in the vortex up to 30 or 40 feet.

They had their charms, but by the late 70s concrete cancer had already set in and the City Council had difficulty finding tenants.

Here is one link that may be of interest in which Hyde Park Flats are mentioned as part of Modernism and postmodernism in architecture. :)

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/4989

Here is a photo from Peter Jones on Photobucket, which probably conveys the ultimate desire of many who lived there: http://digbig.com/4yksk.

I found his pictures from a post on http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/

Peter Dewhurst

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Believe it or not the design of the flats won high acclaim amongst European Architectural circles. I recall they were officially opened in 1966 and commissioned in 1960 - in less than 15 years they were deemed a failure as social housing.

I lived there for a while - the accommodation was adequate, free hot water and heating and a waste disposal unit in the kitchen sink.

However, with all the services running through the concrete there was a constant whining hum. On the higher floors, if the windows were open and the wind was up, either stuff was sucked out of the windows or you had to fight to get the front door open.

The lifts were unpleasant - the pubs were fine - the shop was OK - the best bit was just down the road was a fantastic chippy.

The flats were shaped like an open spiral and when the wind blew in a certain direction there was a vortex created where tin cans would dance through the night, setting up an eerie symphony with the drone of the internal services. One could look out of the window and see litter swirling in the vortex up to 30 or 40 feet.

They had their charms, but by the late 70s concrete cancer had already set in and the City Council had difficulty finding tenants.

Here is one link that may be of interest in which Hyde Park Flats are mentioned as part of Modernism and postmodernism in architecture. :)

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/4989

Here is a photo from Peter Jones on Photobucket, which probably conveys the ultimate desire of many who lived there: http://digbig.com/4yksk.

I found his pictures from a post on http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/

Peter Dewhurst

An excellent contribution to the topic Peter,

and this being your first post on SH 'welcome' to the site.

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I grew up on hyde park flats and my memories as a child are wonderful, we moved on there approximately late 64 early 65. My brother was born at no 55 dacre row No one will ever be born there again. They was still building finishing of the top row I believe when we moved on. The MASSIVE spaces for children to play on was incredible but has stated you would not want your children that far away nowadays. Long landing that we roller skated on seemed to go on forever and ever. Lots of friends everyone knew each other.

There was a community centre where we used to go to discos and dance, a middle staircase that we just loved to go running down (it was a spiral one in the very centre of the flats).

Mum would send us to Bradshaws fruit and veg, there was the newsagent, hairdressers, housing office, launderette (not everyone had a washer including us).

Pubs The Target, Crows nest, Plimsoll, Working mans club park, Gardeners. Schools close by, a swimming baths park hill, a library, Norfolk park, and 5 mins into town, what more could you want ?

My mum had previously lived in a prefab at Firth Park and the flats were luxury compared to that.

The flats themselves were very spacious with a modern kind of kitchen with a garchee (don't know if that is spelt correct. you put everything in there all your kitchen waste and of it went.

We eventually moved of in 1976 to the wybourn to a house with just a gas fire and we had to boil the water it was awful after having hot water and heating all the time.

The positives was when we had a bad thunderstorm you could see it for miles around and from all sides. The views was amazing I loved looking out of the windows. Bonfire night was a big bonus too.

The bad side was the fires several of them in the flats the poor children that died. There was a gas explosion just above the crows nest an occupant had left his gas on came home and the rest is history.

People that fell off the flats there was one young boy who fell of the very top landing and lucky for him the wind blew him back in on the landing below. A few that threw themselves off.

One of the big gas tanks blew up near to the flats and shook the flats and broke the windows on that side, my Mum thought the IRA had attacked them it shook them that bad.

All in all good memories of my childhood, but has a parent now its not something I would choose to do but when i look at the photos of them they are always with a warm affection.

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thanks for sharing your memories, Shelly and Peter. I have fond memories of Hyde Park and Park hill from my youth.

I remember the Gas holder at Effingham road "going up" My Aunt's flat on Lord Row overlooked the gas holders.

The flats were generally very well laid out inside, with lots of light and space. I really liked my flat. The view over the east end of the city was amazing:- I could see all the way to Rotherham from my living room window, and from the front of the flat, I could see all the way up through the city centre. I loved to stand at my window in the wee, small hours, if I couldn't sleep, and just watch the lights of the city twinkling. You can imagine what a lovely view I had, straight up High Street, over the "Hole in the Road" at Xmas, with the decorations.

Shelly, do you remember, there were actually two of those internal, spiral staircases on the big block? One near the crow's nest -end, (so the numbers must have been low.. around #10) and the one at the other end, which was numbered in the high forties/ low fifties (my aunt's flat, on the main landing, was #45, and the next part were in the fifties and sixties) I remember the glassed panels, in the top of those internal stairwells, which were supposed to let some light down into the stairway, but they were so grimy after years of weather and pollution! lol. The external Stairways used to scare me, as they were open to the elements, and I really, really hate heights in a big way (I get dizzy wearing platform soles!!) It was a matter of choosing the lesser of the two evils:- the scary claustrophobic (and smelly) lifts, or the vertigo-inducing scary stairs! hehe.

The worst bit, when I was young, was the fact that the lifts were glassed, and you could see out over the city from the lift car as you rode up and down. Again, this did not do much for my fear of heights!! I was so glad that by the time I had my own flat on there, the lift cars were enclosed, which meant I didn't have to endure the sight of the ground disappearing below me! *gulp!*

The hot water and heat "on tap" was fantastic. I remember how welcoming and warm the flats were as you went inside from the communal landings. (I remember certain corners being particularly windy, as you walked along the landings)

The Garchey waste disposal was a great idea. The system was installed in all three flats' developments across the city, PH (Park Hill) HPF (Hyde Park Flats) And Kelvin. Sometimes it wasn't so nice, when you got the smells of the waste, and a neighbour of mine once got a back-flow, all over her newly decorated kitchen (Pheew-ee... that didn't half pong!)

There was a good sense of community on there, it was just so sad that the flats deteriorated, socially, when the council started having to put what we used to call "problem-families" on.

I have actually been thinking of applying for a unit within the housing on the soon-to-be-refurbed Park Hill. I have good memories of my Gran's flat on PHF, and the excellent view we had of the train station. we used to watch the steam specials coming into Sheffield, such as The Mallard, the Flying Scotsman, and the Duchess of Hamilton. We had a grandstand view from Gran's! :D

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I am really glad other people did have a Positive experiance because they did get bad reviews in later years. I suppose towards the end of there life i didn't like them too.

The strange thing was after we moved of I went back on them with a friend to her mothers and found myself terrified of the lifts and the heights, and still am to this day.

I had to go to Dacre Row and was walking near the doors just couldnt bring myself to look over the landing, It felt so open to the elements I felt so unsafe. I used to stick my head over these landings and shout down to the kids on the bottom, oh and how many times did the fire engines have to come out because one of the kids had got their head stuck between the railings and had to be cut out, oh the concrete used to rip your ears to shreds.

I do remember the other spiral staircase but the middle one was just at the side of us so that was the one I used, Do you remember the old lady that was murdered that lived on the spiral staircase well not literally there was flats on there too i think either three or four .

The boy was a teenager and went to norfolk school not going to mention names he was in my class and came to school after he had done his nasty deed. It was near bonfire night possibly '75-'76.

My bedroom overlooked the dog track, the Wybourn, the railways.

I think when Park Hill is done and they look like what they have done to the existing Hyde Park then they should be really nice, but couldn't move on unless it was on the smaller end blocks top of Duke Street, good luck in that.

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thanks for sharing your memories, Shelly and Peter. I have fond memories of Hyde Park and Park hill from my youth.

I remember the Gas holder at Effingham road "going up" My Aunt's flat on Lord Row overlooked the gas holders.

My flat was 48 Lord Row, Just outside our front door the concrete was already crumbling to the reinforcing bars - by the time we 'students' moved in the council was finding it hard to find tenants so the colleges were able to locate some of their flock - it was excellent value for impoverished students.

Shelly,

Why did you move from the flats?

I also remember that some found great sport in dropping bottles from the top floor landings on the pavement below and that the shop windows were permanently boarded up. Paper aeroplanes flown from the windows on a still day would travel great distances. However, the odd armchair or television similarly launched usually did not. €:{

Peter

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My flat was 48 Lord Row, Just outside our front door the concrete was already crumbling to the reinforcing bars - by the time we 'students' moved in the council was finding it hard to find tenants so the colleges were able to locate some of their flock - it was excellent value for impoverished students.

Shelly,

Why did you move from the flats?

I also remember that some found great sport in dropping bottles from the top floor landings on the pavement below and that the shop windows were permanently boarded up. Paper aeroplanes flown from the windows on a still day would travel great distances. However, the odd armchair or television similarly launched usually did not. €:{

Peter

Hi Peter, You was On the same side of us then, My mum moved because at that time she was wanting a house with a garden, I think she moved at the right time looking back.

Mentioning the crumbled concrete brings back my nightmares when i have them, I am walking up the stairs the ones on the end of the blocks open , and I am walking up the stairs but not on the concrete but on the steel reinforcement very frightening always wakes me up.

Lots of things got thrown over the top, I remember the girl and televison set, although that happened after we left. Dont know what year? she is buried in City road cemetary.

They then put up horrible steel frame on the pavement that stuck out so anything that was thrown over would land on this and not the people. Sad to say but it did get quite bad towards the end didnt it. What year did you leave? I remember watching the flats being blown up from Manor oaks road end sat on sky edge I think that would have been 1991.

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Lots of things got thrown over the top, I remember the girl and televison set, although that happened after we left. Dont know what year? she is buried in City road cemetary.

Hi Shelly,

I was there for about 18 months and left in October 1978, the little girl was hit by a milk bottle I believe.

One sunny afternoon in 1978 I put my old wind up gramaphone out on the balcony and played all my 78s - at the end of the session I got a round of applause and calls for more from people in the flats. At least that is what I would like to believe. :)

Peter

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Hi Shelly,

I was there for about 18 months and left in October 1978, the little girl was hit by a milk bottle I believe.

The girl who was killed was hit by a TV, thrown over the landings by a 15 year old youth. The youth was later held at her majesty's pleasure, because of his age.

There were many incidents of things being hurled off the flats... Milk bottles, rubbish bags, (indeed, by the beginning of the 1980s, the milkman had to stop delivering milk in bottles because of this, and had to deliver it in tetrapaks instead) and, sadly, live pets:- dogs and cats.

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A couple of more modern views taken in 2006 from the canal at Sheaf Quays

Not sure of the date of this

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Not sure of the date of this

Looks pre- renovation, probably pre 1991 (world student games)

Certainly older than in my 2006 shots

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Looks pre- renovation, probably pre 1991 (world student games)

Certainly older than in my 2006 shots

yes, I'd go with that 100%, pretty much full occupation, and pre renovations/ demolition, so certainly pre 1989/1990 (1990 was when they cleared the flats for the WSG)

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....another view of the "larger" block which was demolished - Park Hill in foreground .........

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....another view of the "larger" block which was demolished - Park Hill in foreground .........

This looks like a 1960's or 70's shot as it shows the flats exactly as I remember them and was trying to describe them when I called them those iconic buildings on the hill which overlooked the City, visible from the railway station as your train pulled in, a view which instantly told you that you were home.

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....another view of the "larger" block which was demolished - Park Hill in foreground .........

that picture is obviously pre-supertram, as the railings are from the old Park Square bridges.

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:(

The girl who was killed was hit by a TV, thrown over the landings by a 15 year old youth. The youth was later held at her majesty's pleasure, because of his age.

There were many incidents of things being hurled off the flats... Milk bottles, rubbish bags, (indeed, by the beginning of the 1980s, the milkman had to stop delivering milk in bottles because of this, and had to deliver it in tetrapaks instead) and, sadly, live pets:- dogs and cats.

Hi there, im new to the forum, but would like to say that i was born and bred on Hyde Park, 1966 to be exact, we lived on Chequers Row and at the age of two moved to the top floor of that block, Cricket Inn Gardens, and pretty much stayed there until the end. The young girl you mentioned that was killed so tragically by the falling TV, was a friend of mine and can remember calling for her that day to play marbles, her mum told us to call back after dinner, but as you know, when young other things preoccupy our minds and calling back after dinner was forgotton. She did go out to play marbles, but not with us, you can imagine the shock of what happened, but nothing like what my parents felt, theirs was shock and relief. I can still remember her face now, and im 43 now. As for the murder of the old lady, i remember the police coming to school and asking us all questions, like if we knew of anything to tell our then headmaster Mr Martin. The said person who was involved in this murder actually still lives locally. Apart from these incidents, my memories of Hyde Park are the happiest of my childhood days. It would be good to be able to find the "community spirit" we had in the 70's, but alas must stay fond memories.

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:(

Hi there, im new to the forum, but would like to say that i was born and bred on Hyde Park, 1966 to be exact, we lived on Chequers Row and at the age of two moved to the top floor of that block, Cricket Inn Gardens, and pretty much stayed there until the end. The young girl you mentioned that was killed so tragically by the falling TV, was a friend of mine and can remember calling for her that day to play marbles, her mum told us to call back after dinner, but as you know, when young other things preoccupy our minds and calling back after dinner was forgotton. She did go out to play marbles, but not with us, you can imagine the shock of what happened, but nothing like what my parents felt, theirs was shock and relief. I can still remember her face now, and im 43 now. As for the murder of the old lady, i remember the police coming to school and asking us all questions, like if we knew of anything to tell our then headmaster Mr Martin. The said person who was involved in this murder actually still lives locally. Apart from these incidents, my memories of Hyde Park are the happiest of my childhood days. It would be good to be able to find the "community spirit" we had in the 70's, but alas must stay fond memories.

Hi and welcome to Sheffield History,

I heard that the lad who was involved in the television tragedy had what would be called "Learning Difficultes" these days, and that because of his condition and age, that was why his identity was kept "secret", although I also understand that it was an open secret as to who it was.

I don't really remember the elderly lady being killed.

I knew HPF very well, having an aunt, uncle, and cousins who lived on there, (on Lord Row) and then moving on there myself a little while later.

I remember playing hide and seek with my cousin, up and down the two internal staircases at the junctions of the main block, with the small flats opening off them. I was petrified when the lights would go we also used to go up to the top floor of the main block of the flats and play in the rooftop gardens which sadly had to be barricaded off from the public before the flats were very old. :( :(

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Hi and welcome to Sheffield History,

I heard that the lad who was involved in the television tragedy had what would be called "Learning Difficultes" these days, and that because of his condition and age, that was why his identity was kept "secret", although I also understand that it was an open secret as to who it was.

I don't really remember the elderly lady being killed.

I knew HPF very well, having an aunt, uncle, and cousins who lived on there, (on Lord Row) and then moving on there myself a little while later.

I remember playing hide and seek with my cousin, up and down the two internal staircases at the junctions of the main block, with the small flats opening off them. I was petrified when the lights would go we also used to go up to the top floor of the main block of the flats and play in the rooftop gardens which sadly had to be barricaded off from the public before the flats were very old. :(:(

I used to play in the gardens on our block, can remember being able to paddle in a makeshift paddling pool, but as you say they had to be locked up due to vandalism and certain people using them as urinals. The middle staircase on the big block used to scare me stiff, i had a paper round and that was part of my delivery area, ive never delivered papers so quickly as i did there. As a youngster, they used to have firework displays in the churchyard, that was mainly my playground, that and playing kick can round the back of the Samuel Plimsoll pub. Tried many a gymnastic move on the "bars " of the playground. In fact i think ive still a photograph of the old dog track, when they used to have the open days, with the tug of war teams (mainly the fathers that used to frequent the choice of pubs in the area). The church yard used to be swamped with kids when it snowed, you could make an ice slide from the top right down to the cross outside the church. I often walk through that area, and it seems like a ghost town now, but in my imagination i still hear the hustle and bustle of the old flats, the kids shouting and playing, and the music that was blasted out of open bedroom windows. Yes they were truly good memories that i would love to experience all over again.

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....another view of the "larger" block which was demolished - Park Hill in foreground .........

A great shot of the flats. On that one you can actually see the glass panels on the lift-shafts, which gave the views out of the lift-cars through the window.

My aunt's flat was on Lord Row. My mother would walk us up Broad Street, past the smallest block, across Bernard, and up the hill past St John's church, to the bottom of the largest block, underneath the Crow's Nest, and then we'd take the lift up to Lord Row. My aunt's flat was approximately 17 storeys high, at that end (due to the lie of the land)

My cousin used to delight in scaring me (I've never liked heights) by persuading me to climb onto the top bunk of her bunk beds, which were near the window, and then making them rock. I was terrified I'd be launched through the window! lol Even when I lived on the flats, I used to walk along the door-side of the landings, as I hated going near the balcony-edge. (when I say that, I mean I used to knock my arm about, dreadfully, on the door-handles, as I walked so close to the doors!)

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As a youngster, they used to have firework displays in the churchyard, that was mainly my playground, that and playing kick can round the back of the Samuel Plimsoll pub. Tried many a gymnastic move on the "bars " of the playground. In fact i think ive still a photograph of the old dog track, when they used to have the open days, with the tug of war teams (mainly the fathers that used to frequent the choice of pubs in the area). The church yard used to be swamped with kids when it snowed, you could make an ice slide from the top right down to the cross outside the church. I often walk through that area, and it seems like a ghost town now, but in my imagination i still hear the hustle and bustle of the old flats, the kids shouting and playing, and the music that was blasted out of open bedroom windows. Yes they were truly good memories that i would love to experience all over again.

I have the exact same memories!

We lived at 93 Bevis Row facing the dog track but it was too low to see the races. Our family of Mum, Dad and four girls moved into the flat when it was brand new, having moved from Whites Lane on the Wybourn. We thought we were moving up in the world with central heating, waste disposal unit, balcony and a new cooker to boot!

Perhaps some of you will remember me as a little girl as I am quite distinctive with third degree burns............?

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