This grainy and rather scratched print turned up while I was sorting out stuff in the loft recently. Unremarkable in almost every respect, the view is of Sheffield Polytechnic’s Psalter Lane Art College. I took the photo in 1974 when I was there on an arts foundation course, during my photography module learning the mysteries of darkroom work and film developing (lesson one – negatives scratch easily and collect dirt when wet!).
And until 2008 anyone could have gone up and taken the same view more or less, after which the philistines at Sheffield Hallam University (as they had rebranded themselves) sold it off to the highest bidder, claiming it was ‘too far’ from the rest of their operations in the city centre. Disappointed at what seemed a misguided decision I didn’t worry about the fate of the site too much. Sure some of the fifties blocks were rather poor, and the old Edwardian school building which formed the college library was of little merit, but the modern college blocks were excellent pieces of design, and built to a very high standard. They would clearly convert to fabulous flats and apartments.
Whoops. Silly me. This is after all the city which couldn’t give a toss about it’s built heritage whatever the era, but having destroyed much of the older buildings, it is now the turn of the post-War work to get a good kicking. The bulldozers went in during 2010 and cleared these fine blocks all away, leaving the dull old school standing. Rest easy though, the council has insisted some of the trees are preserved.
The colour pictures were taken by Christine Kay at the University. You’d kind of think having been party to such destruction they might have wanted to keep it quiet.