Sylvia and Dave, Park Hill flats, 1960s
Sylvia remembers Park Hill, 1960s-70s
Sylvia Langan was ten when her family was one of the first to move on to the newly-built Park Hill in 1961. Sylvia remembers Park Hill...
We moved from Adelphi Street near the Royal Infirmary. It doesn't exist any more - it's now a grassed field by a supermarket.
Our house on Adelphi Street was one up (and attic) and one down (and cellar). There was mum, dad and us four kids.
We moved to 130 Norwich Row on New Years Day 1961 and I thought the flats were absolutely fabulous. We had our own bathroom and separate toilet, a waste disposal unit in the sink (the Garchey system).
World Cup 1966
There was a fantastic view of Sheffield - when England won the World Cup we could see crowds everywhere from our vantage point. Our flat looked out on what's now Ponds Forge and Park Square roundabout, very close to The Scottish Queen pub.
Sylvia's little brother with niece and nephew
I met my first husband, Dave, on Park Hill. I was 14 and he was just 16 when we met. We married on 30th January 1971 - Dave was 22 the day before we got married.
Great social life
When our family first moved on the flats there were lots of people we knew because we'd all moved together from the same area. There was a big social life - all the children played together and stayed out late because it was safe. I always beat my dad home from the pub at 10pm by one minute so I'd be there when he got home!
I loved it on the flats. My older sister didn't like it because she liked to have a garden and stuff, but my mum and dad lived there for about 20 years, until the early 1980s. They eventually came to not like living there, and they left just before they died. But I left in the 1970s and my memories were all positive.
We were one of the first people on the flats to get a telephone - our family's first phone too - which was very exciting! A cream bakelite... There were a lot of exciting things - colour TV, and my first camera which I got for winning a race.
Babies in the night
My brother and his wife have been married for 40 years now - they lived with us when she got pregnant. Their son was born at Nether Edge hospital, but their daughter was born actually ON the flats. We had to get the midwife up in the middle of the night - she was a right ptarmigan! "Ooh, it won't arrive before I get there, blah blah blah" as we're knocking on the door every five minutes! I have vivid memories of my brother walking down the stairs with this tiny bundle - she only weighed five-odd pounds.
Kitchen of 130 Norwich Row, Park Hill
The photo on the right was taken in the 1960s in the kitchen of 130 Norwich Row - you can see the cooker and the sink. My sister-in-law has got rollers in - everybody wore rollers and a scarf. You'd go down to the shops like that because you wanted to be ready for your night out! My hair was always too curly though, so I didn't have that problem!
Every year we helped my dad strip the walls in the flat and got new wallpaper. In fact I'm ashamed to say we actually had a mural! A four foot by three foot mural of Switzerland or somewhere!
We had a dart board in the kitchen. We'd all stay up and play darts, dominoes and cards when my dad got back from the pub. Because my dad used to play bridge when he was in the RAF, he taught us all to play when we were young, and he played with the team in the pub.
Look at the Christmas tree! My mum used to go and buy all those trimmings, glass decorations - birds, musical instruments, father Christmas - and the angel on the top.
Sylvia's friends dance the hully bully, 1970
The hully bully
This was my husband's 21st. We went to The Parkway Tavern as that was the pub nearest to his house, and we went back to his mum and dad's after the party. That's upstairs where we were dancing the hully bully!
Look at Carol's short skirt! You couldn't bend over cos you'd show your knickers! And the pelmet above the curtains... everybody had pelmets then. Now you'd have an extra bit of curtain to cover up the rail but then it was all pelmets!
People went to the pub nearest their house, but town was walking distance (we couldn't afford taxis) so town was our pub crawl. We'd go to The Mulberry Tavern, The Old Blue Bell, the Red Lion... up the High Street.
And the nightclubs were on our doorstep too - we spent our New Years Eve's in what was Top Rank (does anyone know what it is now?) and I spent my 21st birthday in the Cavendish on Bank Street.
Park Hill school kitchens
For sixpence a week (a lot of money!), I helped out in the kitchens at the primary school (which was still the old Victorian building when I was there) - you obviously wouldn't be allowed to do that today.
Park Hill primary school, July 1958
They used to have enormous sinks, and a metal one full of really really hot water. The plastic plates were dipped in this, put on to a rack and then were almost instantly dry. So they'd get some of this hot water and pour it into the pot washing sink. Once she actually poured it on my arm! You can't believe the pain - all I can remember is that she put something like bicarbonate of soda on my arm and wrapped it in a tea-towel, and I didn't have to do any more that day. I was just glad to get out of work - we didn't think about health and safety being contravened or anything!
I loved being at Park Hill primary school. My teacher was lovely in hindsight. She'd say, 'always hang your clothes up at the end of the day if you want to wear them again'. And she taught us to dance. Her arms were really flabby - like mine are now! And I always thought, 'I don't want to get arms like that...'
The Link, Duke Street, 2007
Looking at the photos of how the flats look now (February 2007) - it's absolutely appalling. My dad had a heart attack in The Link pub on Duke Street. Someone gave him mouth to mouth and he came round, but he died that night. But now - looking at how it looks twenty-odd years later, I can't believe anyone would want to go in there. And the Link was the posh one in those days! We didn't go in that one...
last updated: 21/05/2008 at 09:40