Park Hill Newsletter - Spring 2022
Park Hill Residents' Association

Park Hill Residents' Association

Spring 2022 Newsletter
PHRA logo
Message from the Committee

Hello and welcome to all our new residents on both phases! We hope that you are enjoying living and working in this iconic complex.


We are opening the newsletter for this quarter with a few words on the function of the Park Hill Residents’ Association (PHRA). The association works on the model of a committee and working groups. Put simply, the role of the committee is to facilitate, signpost and oversee the association. The role of the working groups is to take up an issue and then work together to resolve it. 


Currently, the committee is very short-handed, consisting of a chairperson, a treasurer and a (temporary) secretary. As such, we are desperately in need of more members, particularly a secretary as we were unable to appoint at the last Annual General Meeting. Please consider putting yourself forward for this rewarding role, and do get in touch if you have any questions about what it involves.


Likewise, our working groups are always in need of more members as residents move on. Due to Covid-19, we have unfortunately been unable to meet regularly and therefore garner interest in these groups, but PHRA may not be able to continue without involvement from residents. There will be lots of support from current and previous committee members, and although it doesn’t take up much time, it is very worthwhile! For further information on existing working groups, or how to set up a new one, you can find all the details on the Park Hill Wiki


We hope that you consider getting involved; it’s your association and without it, Park Hill would not be the community it has become.


Tamara, Kay H. and Laura C.

Park Hill Photo Competition Legacy

[Image credit: PHRA]

Late last year we published a limited edition photobook containing the images submitted to our photo competition celebrating 60 years since Park Hill officially opened. Designed by Park Hills HumanStudio and printed by Sheffield-based Jump North, it was a truly local endeavour and we thank them for their enthusiasm and support. The book was retailed by La Biblioteka based in nearby Castle House, who expressed on their social media that it was a welcome addition.


Given its prominence, scale and importance, there are not enough books on Park Hill. So it is great to have one FROM Park Hill.


The book sold out in just 3 days to both locals and customers further afield. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy!

[Image credit: PHRA]

There will be no further print run, but if you missed out, a copy was also donated to Sheffield Local Studies Library and you can find the catalogue record for this here. It is also part of the collection of books in the Park Hill Sales Office if you are ever visiting.

Following our exhibition at Weston Park Museum, we are excited to share that one of the photos displayed - Daily Walk October 2020 by Claire Hunting - has been accepted into the social history collection of Sheffield Museums.

[Image credit: Claire Hunting]

With the 60th anniversary of Park Hill coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic, the building provides a backdrop to a record of restrictions on life that define the period, reflected in the face coverings and the limit on outdoor activities referenced in the photo title.


Jonathan K. 

'Where We Live' Exhibition
Nikon camera

[Image credit: Museums Sheffield]

Since January this year, an exhibition has been running at the Millennium Gallery entitled ‘Where We Live’ which once again situates Park Hill in Sheffield’s galleries. The exhibition features works by five artists seeking to document often-overlooked social landscapes in five different locations across England, with one of these being Park Hill.


Alongside Trevor Burgess, Jonathan Hooper, Narbi Price and Judith Tucker, the striking concrete paintings of Park Hill by Mandy Payne are featured. The works include Everyday Is Like Sunday which is reproduced below with the permission of the artist. Mandy has a long history of painting Park Hill and she was a prize winner of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2014 with her entry ‘Brutal’, which depicted a scene looking across the bridges between Phase 1 and 2.


There is still plenty of time to visit this exhibition as it runs until the June 5th and we highly recommend both residents and former residents take the trip when you can! 

Nikon camera

[Image credit: Mandy Payne]

If you are interested in seeing more pieces by Mandy, you find out more on her website.


Joe D.

A Closer Look at the Concrete of Park Hill

[Image credit: PHRA]

It is rare to read an article about our home which does not reference concrete, it is that synonymous with Park Hill. Although each phase of the ongoing redevelopment has its own distinct look, the exposed concrete frame remains the constant and dominant feature. The concrete has provided much inspiration, whether giving its French name to the student residence at Béton House, the choice of material for sculpture and street furniture in the grounds, the subject of entries to our recent photo competition or even as a canvas for paintings of the estate (see elsewhere in this newsletter). While most people experience (and develop opinions on) Park Hill's concrete form from afar, as residents we have a closer familiarity with it, not least the exposed interior walls in our flats. Have you ever wondered about some of the markings that you see on these?


 [Image credit: PHRA]


[Image credit: PHRA]


[Image credit: PHRA]

The walls were orignally constructed by pouring concrete into a formwork (a temporary mould). To prevent the formwork from bulging under the weight of the wet concrete, Dywidag ties (a threaded rod) were used to hold the sides together. Once the concrete had cured and these were removed, the holes that remained were filled, resulting in the lighter coloured patches you will often see on your wall (a).


You may also find timber blocks bedded into the concrete of your interior wall (b). These mark the locations where skirtings, door frames, windows and stair treads were fixed to the structure. Looking at the positions of these might therefore give you clues as to the former interior features of your flat.


A more obvious remnant feature are the casings for the electrical sockets and switches which are buried in the walls (c). As part of the redevelopment, these have been intentionally left exposed rather than filled in as part of the ‘memory’ of old Park Hill. But today, some residents have repurposed these features as places to display decorative objects, giving them a practical use once again.

[Image credit: @paintboxexplosion]

These are by no means the only features of interest in the concrete that you might find, although they are the most common. Particularly if your flat is located around the building knuckles, you may find additional evidence left behind from the redevelopment. For example, flats above The Cut in flank B have had the staircase removed from the H-core and here it is possible to see the line of the stairs and where the quarter landings have been drilled out.

[Image credit: PHRA]

Moving out of the flats to the external structure, decades of exposure to the weather and pollution had contributed to a degradation of the concrete. Many thousands of individual repairs have been made to the concrete across the redevelopment to date. These repairs maintain a fine balance between being visible, to acknowledge the building history, while at the same time being consistent with the surrounding concrete by matching the texture and blending together with Keim mineral wash.

[Image credit: PHRA]

While much of the work with concrete has been in the form of repairs to the original structure, there have also been instances of new construction, particularly new balustrades for the balconies and Streets in the Sky. These have been precast offsite and differ slightly from those they replace, in that the balusters (vertical posts) are narrower and taper, to increase the daylight through them [1].

[Image credit: Mikhail Riches]

However some of the balustrades at Béton House are originals which have been repaired and you can still see the mushroom shaped pegs embedded within them that were previously used to affix washing lines across the balcony [2]. This is illustrated in the image below, taken by Mick Jones and included in his book View from the Hill.

[Image credit: PHRA]

[Image credit: Mick Jones]

The listing entry for Park Hill describes the reinforced concrete frame as being partly board marked [3]. Imprinted on many of the beams and columns, you can see the grain and knots within the boards used in the formwork. The variation in the finish of the concrete is explained by the architect Jack Lynn in a 1962 article in the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Journal. He explains how the formwork changed over the course of the build in response to issues arising during construction. Starting with plywood, more unfinished boards were later utilised to avoid air holes and to disguise joins between beams and columns within the rougher texture, with the final part of the development (along Duke Street) using a plastic face to the formwork giving a smoother and more uniform finish [4].

[Image credit: PHRA]

The seams between the boards are also visible, indicating how many boards wide and deep the columns and beams are. With the frame being a regular grid, it might be assumed that both sides of the building are identical, however the beams are actually 2 boards deep along the balcony facade compared to 4 on the street side. You may have noticed that you have an internal beam on the balcony side but not on the street side. These internal beams support the floor slabs so their absence on the street side means that they must instead span in a perpendicular direction between the internal stair core wall and the external beam, which needs to be thicker to take the load.


The board marking influences a further example of new concrete construction at the new bin store on Phase 2 (located where Pat Midgley Lane meets South Street). Here, as a prominent location, the architects have replicated the finishing, even using the same width of the boards as 60 years ago. This was also encouraged in the planning process by Historic England who explain:

“Park Hill has a particular finish due to the wooden boards used in the casting process. The imprint can be seen to this day and is part of the story behind the construction of the flats, hence we have specified that this character is maintained in the refurbishment works that Historic England has supported over the years.”

[Image credit: Mikhail Riches]

What we see in the concrete today is a visible history of construction techniques and the evolution of the building. As the landscape of Park Hill has matured over the last 60 years to be surrounded by trees, there is also now a close connection to the natural patterns shown in the concrete structure. You are invited to take a closer look at the detail in the concrete and hopefully gain a further appreciation of the building in which you live or work.


Jonathan K.



Many thanks to Amy at Mikhail Riches (Phase 2 Architects) and Richard at Historic England for the insights that they provided for the research of this item.

All photos are published with the owners permission.




[4] RIBA Journal, December 1962

Litter Picks Continue

[Image credit: PHRA]

Our regular litter picks have returned for 2022, taking place on the last Saturday of every month. These events really do result in making a visible difference to the cleanliness of our surroundings, and are also just as much an opportunity to meet up with your neighbours!


To find out more, please see the posters in the lobbies, our website event calendar or Facebook event. If you are a member of Goodgym Sheffield, our sessions are also registered there for you to sign up to. Whether you are a long-term resident, have only just moved to Park Hill, a student at Béton House or even someone from outside the estate, you are all welcome to join us.

[Image credit: PHRA]

Our most recent litter pick on 26th March was in support of the Great British Spring Clean. Ten volunteers took advantage of the sunny conditions to litter pick around Park Hill and the blossoming South Street Park to fill a total of 17 bags.


We are also looking for more residents to help lead the litter picks. The responsibilities involve:

  • bringing equipment and PPE out of the cycle store
  • greeting volunteers
  • arranging collection by the council
  • directing volunteers where to litter pick (although generally the same route each month)
  • writing social media post (for the Communications Working Group to share)
  • checking our dedicated email inbox
  • helping to persuade surrounding landowners to tidy litter from their property


If you wish to help keep these sessions running, please get in touch at


Jonathan K. 

Solar Panels Update

[Image credit: PHRA]

I am currently working with Urban Splash to get solar panels put on the roof, which will reduce the service charge for residents (at no cost to us). It has been slow progress, but I am hopeful that there will be more room for engagement following the completion of Phase 2. We are currently working through some issues around how the panels would affect the listed building status of Park Hill, with Urban Splash acting as the intermediary between me and Historic England. We need to assure Historic England that the panels won't affect the sightlines of the building, as they'll be lower in height than the grey service boxes that are already on the roof. Great Places, especially Az, have been incredibly helpful, even though they don't have anything to gain from the project directly. Thanks Az! 

Sam G.

Defibrillator Update

[Image credit: PHRA]

It was back in 2018 that PHRA installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), kept in its own cabinet outside the Urban Splash sales office at the main entrance. Since then it has been taken out, at the direction of the emergency services, on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, following an incident in October 2021, the device went missing. However, after discussions between PHRA and the building management company, Great Places very kindly agreed to fund a replacement which is now back in the cabinet. The defibrillator is simple to use and requires no special training, but may help save a life.


If you are involved in an incident please contact me using the number 07986800154 so I can ensure that the device goes back in its cabinet and is ready to use. 


Mick H. (Park Hill AED Guardian)

Urban Cyclocross

[Image credit: Sheffield Urban Cyclocross]

Sheffield Urban CycloCross, who specialise in running cycling events in the urban environment, will be returning to Park Hill on Saturday 7th May. The Park Hill UpRise Urban Hill Climb will take place on the two cobbled climbs below South Street, with riders competing to be the fastest to complete the climb.

The event is open to both experienced riders, and those who simply want to have a go! To get involved, register your interest on the Rider HQ website. The small entry fee goes towards support the running costs of the event only.

If you don’t fancy competing, you can still enjoy the event by cheering on the cyclists taking part. Organisers are also on the lookout for marshals to support the event, so please email if interested. 

Victoria W.

Norfolk Park Open Gardens

[Image credit: Friends of Sheaf Valley Park]

Friends of Sheaf Valley Park (FOSVP) have recently announced plans for an open garden event to be held later this year. For any residents with a local allotment space who would be interested in taking part or would like to help with the organisation, please email to express your interest. 

Park Hill Parking Zone

[Image credit: Sheffield City Council]

Sheffield City Council have recently released plans for four new parking zones, including one around Park Hill. Further information about the proposals can be found on their website, where you also have the opportunity to provide your views as part of the consultation process. If you have any questions about the scheme or accessing the relevant information, please contact 

Although parking on-site is in short supply at the moment, we ask that you park considerably, bearing in mind that our diverse community includes those with pushchairs and limited mobility. 

Resident Discounts

[Image credit: Creative Commons

If you follow the various social media pages of PHRA, you will have noticed several recent discounts available to residents! 
We have now brought these together and formed a special Resident Discount section at the bottom of the Residents page on our website.


One of the current offers available is access to the Tier 2 Partner membership package at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, which can be purchased either online or at the box office. This is a discounted membership on 12-month contracts which includes access to a variety of fitness classes at seven venues across Sheffield. Further details of how to secure this discount can be found on our website as above. 


Further to this, South Street Kitchen put on occasional offers for residents so we encourage you to keep an eye out for those on the PHRA social media pages and our website! Any other discounts will be added to the list once we have been made aware of them.


Joe D. 

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Park Hill Residents' Association
Sheffield S2, United Kingdom
Copyright PHRA 2021