Park Hill: monster or masterpiece?

Aerial view of Park Hill flats
Aerial view of Park Hill flats
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FANS have called it a masterpiece of brutalist architecture. Detractors have labelled it an ugly, expensive failed experiment in high-rise living. Many of its past residents, meanwhile, have simply referred to it as San Quentin.

But, whatever your views on Park Hill, one thing cannot be argued with: it has caused arguments since before it was opened in 1961.

Now, the famous landmark/monstrosity is to be the subject of a new book by historian Peter Tuffrey.

And if you think you’ve read everything that could possibly be said about one of Europe’s biggest concrete structures, think again. Peter insists he has lots of good material to go at including interviews with residents, old newspaper reports, and pictures of visits by everyone from the Queen Mother to South Yorkshire Police’s armed response unit.

“A lot of books about Park Hill are from an arts view,” says the 59-year-old of Warmsworth. “Which misses the point – people lived there.

“This will be proper history.”

Featured is the original planning and the current regeneration; the high hopes, social problems and sheer ingenuity/stupidity needed write ‘will u marry me?’ on a bridge some 13 stories high. It will be released this summer through Fonthill.

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