Sunday 10 December 2023

Twin Towers

I've spoken about Sheffield on here quite a lot over the years*: Richard Hawley, Tom Wrigglesworth; Def Leppard; Henderson's Relish; Kelham Island; Brutalism (can there have be a more Soviet looking UK city in the 60s & 70s?) Many of the tower blocks built between 1956 and 1967 still dominate Sheffield's skyline and as you can see from the photograph above taken in 1961, they gave the city an almost futuristic look. A look which was replicated with varying degrees of success all over Britain. I particularly love the fact that there is not a single car in the photograph. Not one.

These particular towers (situated in the Herdings, S14), constructed in 1958/9, were known locally as the Three Sisters**. Unfortunately one of the blocks (the one on the right) was sadly demolished in 1996 when major faults in its construction became apparent. Now, with their third sibling long gone, they are simply referred to as the Twin Towers.

I drove up to the capital of South Yorkshire yesterday to see for myself how they were holding up more than half a century later. The concrete and brick structures were re-clad in 1998 and the vacant plot vacated by their departed sister was redeveloped with, I have to say, unimaginative low rise semi detached housing in 2010. But at 38 metres tall (to the rooftop***) and sitting on a hilltop, they still loom large on the horizon.

The above shot is how it looked on a wet and windy Saturday morning in December 2023. I may have been standing a couple of feet away from where the original was shot 60 years ago, but I was quite pleased with the result. And as I was getting piss wet thru at the time I certainly wasn't hanging around.

* I wouldn't say I was in love with Sheffield but I've admired her from afar for most of my adult life. 

** Originally christened Leighton, Morland and Raeburn. 

*** When down to just two they were rebadged Queen Elizabeth Court (Leighton) and Queen Anne Court (Morland); Queen Anne has a radio mast on the roof thus extending her height to 55 metres.


  1. Excellent post, John. I love seeing the same photo taken decades apart. And you also confirmed what we all suspected - the weather was much better back then.

    1. Thanks, Rol. I took a few more (tho' not as many as I would have liked due to the appalling weather) that clearly mark the passage of time; I may revisit the theme. I will also revisit the city - preferably when the weather bucks up*.

      * I could be waiting for some time. Unless of course I can go back to that sunny day in 1961.