Sheffield Poet Laureate reveals new poem to go on public display at Park Hill

Sheffield Poet Laureate reveals new poem to go on public display at Park Hill supporting image

‘We were never derelict’ will go on show at new student accommodation, Béton House

The spirit of Park Hill has been captured in a new poem written by Sheffield Poet Laureate Otis Mensah. The contemporary poem will be on permanent display at Béton House as part of new public artworks and is an ode to the building and a tribute to the communities that have been part of its history.


Otis Mensah said: "When being asked to write the poems for Park Hill, I was conflicted and felt it was imperative to depict the beauty and resilience of a community, focusing on the people that make Sheffield. 

“We Were Never Derelict is about hope and unity and shedding light on the human cost of disenfranchisement even in the very heart of it. I hope that this poem portrays the ever-changing state of life and society and simultaneously burdens the reader to acknowledge their social responsibility."


The poem reads: 


“We were never derelict”

Pockets of people’s stories

cradled by brick and mortar

amidst the rubble and murmur

living catalysts of love

Paint gallons of life on dreary

dance over mundane & void

solitude birthed a smile

that sought community & good

Build towers of noise aside us

such transience won’t quake

a spirit, not stone cemented

but blood & flesh & faith

We were never derelict

just displaced and out of sight

carrying home inside us

when home they tried to break.

The poem, along with a brand new customised Park Hill font, was showcased to mark the launch of Alumno’s new show flat at Béton House student accommodation, in Park Hill.


Alumno, the award winning specialists in the design and development of modern accommodation for students, gave a first look at their latest, unique student townhouses at Park Hill, due to open in September 2020.

Sheffield’s world renowned iconic brutalist structure has had a colourful history and is now experiencing ‘a new beginning’ with the first refurbished phase having established a 700 strong mixed community living and working there.


David Campbell, MD of Alumno said: “Today we launch our show flat on site at Béton House that will demonstrate how we have configured the building into unique townhouses providing a new living experience for students in Sheffield.”

Otis Mensah with Alumno MD David Campbell


“It is great to see Béton House coming to life and to build the momentum with the introduction of the font and poem. Park Hill is part of Sheffield’s history and now it’s future and we wanted to recognise this with something practical and something memorable. Our new Park Hill font can be used across all forms of communication – immediately associated with Park Hill and with Sheffield.”


Béton House has been designed by local architects, Whittam Cox delivered by construction partner, Kier.


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