logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 25 October 2002.

Celebration – Mat Tatlow – 1946-2002

Mat Tatlow, longstanding contributor to the Burngreave community, died on August 12th after a 6 month illness with pancreatic cancer.

Established as one of Sheffield’s foremost regeneration architects, Mat will be remembered by many in Pitsmoor, whether through his role as an architect with North Sheffield Housing Association (now known as Arches), Walter Rodney Housing Association, the Adventure Playground or as someone well known in local pubs.

Arriving on Coupe Road in the early 70s Mat was part of an anarchic group that engaged with the many children playing on the street and joined with other residents to build the Adventure Playground. Many will remember the Pitsmoor pram pushing pub crawl, a race where teams in fancy dress from over a dozen pubs competed to raise funds for the new playground, ending in an inebriated knees-up at the Vestry Hall. As Pitsmoor Builders collective, the group set up a workshop on Burngreave Street which was always open to the local youth, whether building their trolleys or putting together their massive speaker cabinets.

Next Mat worked with local residents groups to protect and conserve what remained of local housing following the massive slum clearance of the time which had removed whole communities from the area. Through this he gained a thorough knowledge of taking apart and putting together the Pitsmoor terraced house. Through Pitsmoor Builders and as a founder member of North Sheffield Housing Association, Mat had a hand in conserving well over 200 houses as well as new build projects such as the infill housing on Fox Street and Basil Griffiths Court.

Mat’s contact with many in the black community concerned about the situation of black youth in the area led to the setting up of Walter Rodney Housing Association.

Mat’s skills, hard work, contacts and sheer ability to have a good time meant that although he was rarely the chair of the committee, he was often the driving force that brought everyone together to make things happen. His energies were not motivated by personal gain but by his politics of collective action. People trusted Mat, who inspired confidence with his openness and lack of professional distance.

Mat was someone who, while not originally from Pitsmoor, lived here for over 20 years and left a huge and lasting legacy in the local built environment and in lasting facilities for the youth of the community. It is perhaps fitting therefore, that after having set up home in the countryside for a few years, Mat returned to spend his last courageous six months in a Pitsmoor terraced house, cared for by his partner Fiona and celebrating life to the end with his many friends.


Mat Tatlow.