Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

‘What is so interesting about this book is that it catches the pathos,

almost tragedy, of a failed or crumbled utopian vision’.

Preface by Bernard Crick


Quarry Hill Flats was a large housing estate, built on continental lines and

peculiar to Leeds. The largest and most modern of their kind in Europe,

housing around 3,000 people, the Flats were constructed during the 1930s

as part of a ‘great social experiment’ to accommodate an entire urban

community. But soon the daring vision for the future began to crumble –

literally – and by the 1950s the Flats were infamous. During the 1970s

the decision was made to demolish the ‘stone jungle’, and Peter Mitchell

arrived in Leeds in time to record the passing of this great estate.

This is not merely a record of demolition but a tribute to the power of

photography, to those who engineered and built the Flats, to the people

who lived and died in the Flats and to the city of Leeds itself. Using

archive material – much of it private and unpublished – Memento Mori

details the ideas behind the Flats, their construction, and their eventual

demise. Why did it fall? Was it some flaw in the grand design, or a

combination of factors? And what did the inhabitants themselves actually

feel about their surroundings? Memento Mori offers answers to some of

these questions, but poses many more. Peter Mitchell says:

‘I photograph dying buildings and Quarry Hill was terminal by the time I

got to it. Times change and I know there was no point in keeping Quarry

Hill Flats. But what it stood for might have been worth remembering’.


first published 1990

new edition by RRB Publishers, May 2016


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