Saturday 7 April 2012

Urban Decay

Sheffield was a very industrialised city up until the 1980's with many of the large manufacturing sites being situated slap bang in the middle of the city itself, which I suppose has made its regeneration a bit trickier than most.

Our apparent hunger for cheap, often poorly made, disposable goods has (in my opinion) put us in a very precarious position as well as making us a nation of shoppers and stripped us of our specialist and valuable manufacturing skills.
We used to make important and also everyday essential items here in Sheffield and it saddens me that in my lifetime the whole reason for the city existing is no more. When I left school, these companies still employed hundreds and took on REAL apprentices, teaching them REAL skills - unlike the apprenticeship schemes these days that exploit school leavers and provide free labour for companies that make vast profits already, and still leave many of the apprentices still with no real skills or a job at the end of it.
The Kelham Island part of Sheffield has had lots of regeneration with some of the factories being restored and reused as housing, restaurants and museums, but some of the buildings can't be re-modelled and so they are being pulled down. I wanted to photograph some of the buildings to remind me of what once, when they are no longer here.

We were having a walk to help the young man with his Geography revision. He has been studying the Sheffield floods of 2007 and I thought it would make it much easier to understand if he saw where and how the rivers (all 5 of them) flowed into and through the city and where they meet (a confluence!)and went underground (in culverts).
He in turn taught us all about chanellisation of rivers, urbanisation, primary, secondary and tertiary employment categories and much more! A very education Geography field trip all round!
We had a great walk and found another small piece of graffiti by Phlegm


topchelseagirl said...

I think it is important to photograph such buildings before they are destroyed - it is so interesting to look back at how places have changed, not always for the better.

Jo said...

It's so sad to see the buildings in such a state, especially when it isn't that long ago that they were being used to their full potential. I agree, not all change is for the better.

Carol said...

The jobs the people who worked in those buildings had gave them a pride and a purpose. I remember when every weekday between 4 and 5 pm you would see all the men rushing to get their buses home from the factories and the plantworks. Most of them laughing and joking. No jobs for them now. So very sad.
Carol xx

Rosie said...

I agree with your second paragraph about all our manufacturing skills being lost to our desire for cheap, disposable goods. Much the same thing is happening here in Stoke. It is good that you are photographing industrial buildings before they disappear completely:)

Mad about Craft said...

My Dad was a casualty of the demiss of the Sheffield steel industry's decline in the early 1980s.

BadPenny said...

Such beautiful buildings - what a waste. I remember the son of one of mum's friends explaining his job in a design company. He had to design things like washing machines that had a limited life span. Gone are the days where we nursed our machines along for twenty years or more. Sad.

Great field trip. Jess did A level geography & when we go out on walks she is a mine of information !

Happy Easter Diane xx

PS I know you like meeting fellow bloggers so you'll understand my excitement that Anne in Australia
(Ungardened moments) has contacted me about a possible meet when she's over here !

Mary Ann Tate said...

Love the graffiti. Toronto has done not a bad job in revitalizing those few old factories areas that still are around. They have refurbished them into condos and lofts. A family member now lives in a condo in a refurbished church that had been abandoned. I wasn't sure what to expect but it is wonderful.