Before the Second World War, Sheffield Council planned a major slum clearance programme in the Park Hill area; however, this was halted due to the war. Afterwards, a radical scheme was introduced and architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith designed the Park Hill Flats. Inspired by Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation, the deck access scheme was viewed as revolutionary at the time. Construction began in 1957 and Park Hill (Part One) was officially opened by Hugh Gaitskell on 16 June 1961. Further housing schemes were completed to similar designs including Hyde Park (Part 2) built adjacent to Park Hill and which was opened in 1965 by the Queen Mother. Although initially popular and successful, over time the estate was nicknamed 'San Quentin' by residents due to its many social problems. The largest of the Hyde Park blocks was demolished in the 1990s. The remainder was refurnished for use in the World Student Games which Sheffield hosted in 1991. In 1998, the complex was given Grade II listing making it the largest listed building in Europe.
Obviously, controversy has courted this entire development from the outset and Sheffield Flats: From High Rise to Eyesore attempts to present a balanced view of all the events as they have taken place.
Peter Tuffrey was born in Doncaster in 1953. He studied Fine Art at Doncaster College of Art and at Leeds University until 1974. He was Keeper of Fine and Decorative Arts at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery 1975-1995; freelance writer 1995-2000, PR Media Consultant for Doncaster Rovers 2000-2002; and Area Manager for the Music Ground Group of Companies 2003-2010. He is now working as a freelance writer. He has produced over eighty publications featuring the Doncaster area as well as Nottingham, Sheffield and the Yorkshire area in general.