Love it or hate it? Sheffielders have their say on living in the city’s tower blocks

Herdings Flats, SheffieldHerdings Flats, Sheffield
Herdings Flats, Sheffield
The people of Sheffield have largely positive memories of tower block living, in both much-missed high-rises and buildings that still stand today.

In the midst of the commercial developments across the city, we asked our readers what their experiences have been like living in similar high-rise tower blocks.

The Norfolk Park complex, redeveloped in the 2000s and 2010s after its demolition a few years prior, came up time and time again in your responses.

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“I lived there when I was a kid. It was absolutely brilliant, it had a massive panoramic view of Sheffield, and friends I went to school with were with me all the time. We had our own community back then,” commented David Sparks.

The height of the towers made for more than just great views too, as many readers recalled the effect of high winds: “We lived on the fifteenth floor. It was great when it would sway slightly,” commented Lisa Ann Woods.

Instantly recognisable: Sheffield's Park Hill flatsInstantly recognisable: Sheffield's Park Hill flats
Instantly recognisable: Sheffield's Park Hill flats

Park Hill, a complex similar to Norfolk Park (although not technically tower blocks), was mentioned repeatedly as a similar source of nostalgia.

Julie Ditchburn commented: “My grandma was one of the very first to move in. She really loved it as she never had a bathroom before. I remember us all going every Friday to have a bath.

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“I remember sitting on a chair by the window and just looking at it all. All the tenants used to go outside on the walkways and talk to one another.”

Less conventional pleasures should not be forgotten - sending items down the rubbish chute was listed by a few people as an advantage of high rise living.

Having so many people living in close proximity has the potential to lend itself to close community, of course, but also opens the door to nightmare neighbours.

Claire Davison, who lived in Norfolk Park in 1995, said: “It was brilliant when I first moved in. People looked out for each other. The trouble was someone set up an illegal radio station flat above ours with music all day and night!”

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Other people mentioned the unnecessary stress of not being able to sleep, with noise from surrounding flats - but if you are lucky enough to be an upstairs neighbour, there is one hidden benefit.

“It’s very warm especially in winter, as you get everyone’s heat. We never turned ours on,” said David Spooner, who lived on the 14th floor in Stannington.

The only thing consistently hated by high rise dwellers is the lifts which, when they are working, rarely seem to be clean.

Another 14th floor dweller, Roy Saywell, said: “Let’s just say one day entering the lift, a very old gent was getting out and the urine was very fresh.

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“Once, the lift doors opened, and there was a person in a body bag with two undertakers in the lift. I waited for the next.”

Dodgy lifts aside, the love-hate relationship of Sheffielders with high-rises seems to lean more on the side of love, thanks to nostalgia, community, and amazing views of the city.

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