From 20th to 22nd October 2017, fourteen Company members and their partners enjoyed a busy weekend in Sheffield.
The tour commenced with a reception in the University Arts Tower, hosted by Professor Kavin Hadjri, Dean of the School of Architecture, and was followed by an informal group dinner at our hotel.
Saturday’s programme commenced with a walking tour through the city centre and up to the university campus led by a team of guides provided by the Sheffield Society of Architects. Lunch at the Anglican Cathedral café was followed by a tour of the church itself with Clive England, the Architect to the Fabric. The building is a fascinating blend of the ancient and modern and is an extremely vibrant participant in the life of the city. After lunch, braving a typical South Yorkshire windy and rainy afternoon, we climbed the hill to visit the Park Hill Estate. Many of us remember and visited the multi storey flats development, described when it was built in the 1960’s as Britain’s first “City in the Sky” and it was enlightening to be shown round phase 1 of the major refurbishment project by two enthusiastic members of the Residents’ Association. In recognition of the achievements so far and wishing to support future progress, a substantial donation was made by the group towards the development of a community garden on the site.
Park Hill before (left-hand side of picture) and after renovation (right-hand side)
The iconic Winter Garden next to the hotel
In the evening a formal dinner was held with guests from the University, the SSA and RIBA region. The event was a little less formal than intended because the dinner place seating cards in the Master’s pocket got soaked to illegibility when the taxi taking him to the venue had a puncture and he had to stand in the pouring rain for 20 minutes waiting for a replacement!
On the final day we travelled into Derbyshire where the first stop was in Chesterfield for a whistle-stop tour led by Chris and Sara Bicknell. The main attraction was, of course, the world famous crooked spire on the parish church. Moving on we then visited Slingsby Mill, a working watermill built in the 19th century by the Duke of Devonshire so that he could enjoy fresh bread in his two nearby houses, Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House. After lunch in the nearby 15th C Hardwick Inn the weekend finished with a visit to Hardwick Hall itself. The most notable features of this very grand house are the extraordinary main stairway which winds its way in a completely random manner up through the building from the ground to the second floor and the massive tapestries that cover every inch of every wall. There are even ones specially woven to go up the sides of the stairway.