The Sheffield reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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This article is about the city in England. For other uses see Sheffield.

Sheffield is a city in the north of England. The current (2004) population is well over half a million. Part of the greater metropolitan borough of Sheffield, it has grown, from its industrial roots to encompass a wide economic base and is now the fourth largest city in England, and the only one in South Yorkshire.

Table of contents
1 People
2 Geography
3 History
4 Industry
5 Economy and Government
6 Sport
7 Culture
8 Transport
9 Buildings, landmarks and institutions
10 External links


People from Sheffield are called Sheffielders. They are also colloquially known as "Dee-dars" (which derives from their pronunciation of the "th" in the dialectal words "thee" and "thou") although the term is in decline and is not nearly as prevalent as "Scouse" is for "Liverpudlian" or "Geordie" is for "Novocastrian". In fact, many Yorkshire dialect words and aspects of pronunciation derive from old Norse ([1]) due to the Viking influence in this region.

According to Wikipedia's List of English districts by ethnic diversity (based on the 2001 UK Census) Sheffield's ethnic diversity is as follows:

Rank District White
Chinese &
other %
62 Sheffield 91.2 4.6 1.8 0.4


Panorama of Sheffield (Centre and North) 2004

The area, is now part of the region known as South Yorkshire, on its border with the forests of Nottinghamshire and the Derbyshire Dales. Sheffield was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and, before this, the Saxon shire of Hallamshire. It is located at 53°23' North, 1°28' West.

The city nestles in a natural amphitheatre of seven hills, at the confluence of five rivers; Don , Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley and Porter. Directly to the west is the Peak District National Park and the Pennine hill-range. (The Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout was a landmark in the campaign for national parks and open access to moorland in Britain. It became Britain's first National Park on December 28, 1950).In fact, one third of Sheffield is actually within the Peak District National Park (no other English city has land within a national park), and Sheffield is said to be England's greenest city, containing 150 woodlands and 50 public parks.

More details on individual Sheffield suburbs and neighbouring settlements are available in another Wikipedia article, in information related to the Metropolitan Borough of Sheffield.


Evidence of cave-dwellers has been found at nearby Creswell Crags, and the remains of Britain's earliest known "house", a circle of stones in the shape of a hut-base (dated to around 8,000BC) at what is now Deepcar, in the North of the city. The discoveries made in the caves of Creswell Crags in the late 1800's, showed that early man (Palaeolithic period) existed at the same time as the mammoth. Thousands of flint, quartzite, bone and ivory tools were found as well as the bones and teeth of musk ox, hippopotamus and woolly rhinoceros. more recent disoveries (July 2004) at the "Church Hole" cave, has lead to the site being called the "Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age". Although older cave art in France and Spain is regarded as more sophisticated, the Church Hole images are deemed to be significant because of their northerly position. They are the only examples of Palaeolithic cave art in the UK, and the artists who made them would have witnessed a British landscape still being shaped by glaciers.

In 1955, on a site around 22 miles south-west of Sheffield, Lieutenant-Colonel Gell of Hopton Hall found a prehistoric flint hand-axe, some 150,000 years old ( Lower Palaeolithic period), yet more evidence of early man's existence in the region.

Hordron Stone Circle, near Sheffield

By the Bronze Age the region which we now call Sheffield was attracting more and more tribal peoples. In about 1500 BC, the Middle Bronze Age tribes reached the area. These people (sometimes called the Urn people) were armed warriors led by fierce chiefs, who subdued the earlier pastoral dwellers. They built numerous stone circles, both large and small, (Moscar Moor, Froggat Edge and Hordron Edge for example) and used bronze tools and weapons which seem to have been brought to the area by traders over well-established trade routes. Cremation was widely practised, with the ashes (in a cinerary urn) being buried with or without the building of a cairn. Two Early Bronze Age urns have been found at Crookes and three Middle Bronze Age barrows found at Lodge Moor (both suburbs of the modern city).

An Iron Age fort was constructed at Wincobank, in what is now northeastern Sheffield. The ramparts of this fort stood on the summit of a steep hill above the River Don. It was built by the Celtic Brigantes tribe in the 1st century AD, possibly to withstand the northward advance of the Roman legions. A minor Roman road also ran through the north of the city, but Sheffield probably did not grow into a fully-fledged settlement, as such, until the Anglo-Saxon period.

The Saxons founded a settlement beside the River Sheaf, which was called Scafield or Escafeld, and it was at Dore, some six miles south-west, and now a suburb of Sheffield, that King Egbert of Wessex received the submission of King Eanred of Northumbria in 829 and so became the first Saxon ruler of all England, (his official title was Bretwalda - literally, "Overlord of Britain" - the title "King of England" emerged two generations later with Alfred the Great).

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (started by King Alfred) gives little information about the region during this time, but an entry for the year AD829 names an event which would indicate that in the 350 or so years since Anglian settlers first arrived here, the land had been well cleared and cultivated and a number of small, well-managed townships had grown up around the original settlements. Among these were Attercliffe, Bramley, Brightside, Brincliffe, Darnall, Fulwood, Gleadless, Handsworth, Heeley, Longley, Norton, Owlerton, Shirecliffe, Southey, Tinsley, Totley, Wadsley, Walkley and Woodseats, all of which are now districts of modern Sheffield. It's interesting to note how many of these names end in 'ley', which signifies a clearing in the forest. 'Ton' at the end of a name means 'an enclosed farmstead', as in Norton and Owlerton.

White Yorkshire rose
In the 800's England was effectively divided into seven regions (The Heptarchy) of which the principal four parts were Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex and East Anglia. All but the West Saxons (Wessex), which came to be ruled by Alfred, fell to the Vikings, as this region was the most distant from their incursions. Wessex recovered the other three when Eric Bloodaxe, ruler of York (Jorvik) died in 954. The region effectively ruled by the Vikings was known as the Danelaw and influence of Viking language on the regional speech varieties of northern and eastern England is well documented. It is not surprising, therefore, that numerous 'Viking' lexical items are to be found in the traditional dialects of Yorkshire, including that of Sheffield.

Sheffield retained its Saxon lord for some years after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was at the time of the Norman Conquest that Sheffield and the surrounding district was named for the first time as the manor of "Hallun" or Hallamshire. This is found in the Domesday Book of 1086, which William the Conqueror ordered to be compiled so that the value of the townships and manors of England could be assessed. The entries in the Domesday Book are written in a kind of Latin shorthand and the extract for this area begins :

TERRA ROGERII DE BVSLI [LANDS OF ROGER DE BUSLI] M. hi Hallvn, cu XVI bereuvitis sunt. XXIX. carucate trae Ad gld. Ibi hb Walleff com aula. . . etc.

Translated it reads:

'In Hallam, one manor with its sixteen hamlets, there are twenty-nine carucates [about three thousand acres] to be taxed. There Earl Waltheof had an "Aula" [hall or court]. There may have been about twenty ploughs. This land Roger de Busli holds of the Countess Judith. He has himself there two carucates and thirty-three villeins hold twelve carucates and a half. There are eight acres of meadow, and a pasturable wood, four leuvae [a leuva is thought to be about a mile] in length and four in breadth. The whole manor is ten leuvae in length and eight broad. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was valued at eight marks of silver [ã5.33]; now at forty shillings [ã2.00]. In Ateclive and Escafeld [Attercliffe and Sheffield], two manors, Sweyn had five carucates of land [five hundred acres] to be taxed. There may have been about three ploughs. This land is said to have been inland, demesne [domain] land of the manor of Hallam.'

Early in the 12th century the township passed to William de Lovetot, a Norman. He founded the parish church,- which today is the cathedral [1], St. Mary's Church at Handsworth, and also built the original wooden Sheffield Castle around which the city grew. (This was replaced by a stone-built structure around 1270)

Mary Queen of Scots spent 14 years, from 28th November 1570 onwards, imprisoned in Sheffield Castle and it's dependent buildings. The castle park once extended beyond the present Manor Lane, where the remains of Manor Lodge are to be found. Beside them is the Turret House, an Elizabethan building, which may have been built to accommodate the captive queen. A room, believed to have been the queen's, has an elaborate plaster ceiling and overmantle, with heraldic decorations.

During the English Civil War, Sheffield changed hands several times, finally falling to the Parliamentarians, who demolished the Castle in 1648.

16th. Century

The Industrial Revolution brought large scale steel making to Sheffield in the 18th. century. Much of the medieval town was swept away to be replaced in some part by Georgian elegance, but also by Victorian squalor. Sheffield's city centre has been largely rebuilt in recent years, but among the concrete and glass of modern buildings, some of the best old buildings have been retained.

Sheffield's oldest surviving building is Sheffield Cathedral, while other notable mediaeval buildings include Beauchief Abbey, the Bishops' House, and the Old Queen's Head pub in Pond Hill, which dates from around 1480, with its timber frame still intact.

Some Robin Hood legends link the character to the Sheffield region, not least the association of "Robert of Locksley" to the Sheffield region of Loxley, and the proximity of the city to the "Barnsdale" Forest.

Parts of the city were devastated by the Great Sheffield Flood, when the Sheffield Waterworks Company's Dale Dyke dam, which was approaching completion after five years' construction work, collapsed on Friday 11 March, 1864.

The city's early success in Steel production unfortunately involved long working hours, in unpleasant conditions which offered little or no safety protection. It was no coincidence, therefore, that Sheffield became one of the main centres for trade union organisation and agitation in the UK. By the 1860s, the inevitable conflict between capital and labour provoked the so-called 'Sheffield Outrages', which culminated in a series of explosions and murders carried out by union militants.

The UK Association of Organised Trades was founded in Sheffield in 1866, a forerunner of the Trdes Union Congress TUC. The Sheffield Trades Council, which is still active today, was founded in 1871.

The Sheffield Coat of Arms [1] were granted to the Sheffield Borough Council on 16th July 1875, and subsequently to the present City Council on 1st September 1977.

The lion on the crest is taken from the Arms of the Dukes of Norfolk, lords of the manor of Sheffield; it appeared also in the Arms of the Talbot family, their predecessors in the lordship.

The sheaf of arrows was the main motif in the seals of the Burgery of Sheffield and the Twelve Capital Burgesses, the two bodies which bore the brunt of local government in Sheffield before the creation of the Borough.

The three wheatsheaves on a green field were probably chosen at the College of Arms as a play upon the name Sheffield.

The two supporters, Vulcan and Thor, were chosen for their aptness to represent a place whose prosperity was almost entirely founded on the working of metal. Thor on the left, the smith of the Scandinavian gods has his hand resting on a hammer, and Vulcan on the right, the smith of the Greek and Roman gods, is standing in front of an anvil and is holding a pair of pincers.

The motto (Deo Adjuvante Labor Proficit) may be roughly translated as "With God's help our labour is successful".


By the 14th century, Sheffield was becoming noted for its manufacture of quality knives, and Chaucer's miller carried a Sheffield knife in the Canterbury Tales. By the 16th century, the city was producing a wide variety of cutlery, and it was Thomas Boulsover's invention of Sheffield Plate (silver-plated copper), in the early 18th century, that made Sheffield world renowned. Cutlery made of Sheffield steel was regarded highly in 19th century England.

Sheffield's Assay Office opened in 1773, and stamps precious metals with the city's crown mark.

Sheffield has an international reputation for steel-making, which dates from 1740, when Benjamin Huntsman discovered the crucible technique for steel manufacture, at his workshop in the district of Handsworth. This process had an enormous impact on the quantity and quality of steel producton and was only made obsolete, a century later, in 1856 by Henry Bessemer's invention of the Bessemer Convertor which allowed the true mass production of steel. Bessemer had moved his Bessemer Steel Company to Sheffield to be at the heart of the industry. A more recent major Sheffield steel invention was that of stainless steel by Harry Brearley in 1912, and the work of Profs. F.B.Pickering and T. Gladman throughout the 1960's, 70's and 80's was fundamental to the development of modern high strength low alloy steels.

While iron and steel have always been the main industries of Sheffield, coal mining has been a major feature of the outlying areas, and the Palace of Westminster in London was built using limestone from quarries in the nearby village of Anston.

The Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, a partnership between Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Hallam University and The Cutlers' Company of Hallamshire, has preserved key sites associated with the city's industrial heritage, some of which actually still operate ancient equipment for the public, such as the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and the Kelham Island Museum.

Northwest of the city lies Wortley Top Forge, which was a heavy ironworks of international reknown. It is a site of historical and industrial importance, contributing to Sheffield's reputation for manufacturing high-quality, precision steel goods, though actually it is located within the boundaries of neighbouring Barnsley

The city once spearheaded the knowledge advances which gave it preeminence in steel and cutlery production, today the transfer of technology from SheffieldÒs universities is guaranteeing Sheffield's continuing industrial and commercial evolution, creating cutting-edge enterprises across the city.

High technology businesses such as the US company Fluent, for example, have chosen Sheffield as the centre for their international operations and so has Jennic, specialists in semiconductor design for the Internet.

Large scale investment in Sheffield is currently (2004) maintaining a particularly high level, and the recent announcements by leading international companies including Boeing and Insight Enterprises to invest in the City are further fuelling this interest.

Insight Enterprises will invest ã50m in a new European headquarters resulting in 1700 jobs over the 2005-2008 period, while Boeing, through its collaboration with the University of Sheffield will be at the centre of an advanced manufacturing park on the edge of the City, home to a cluster of businesses in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Sheffield also hosts one of Europe's largest shopping centre complexes, Meadowhall, with its own transport hub, bringing customers by road, rail and tram, from the city itself, neighbouring towns and the surrounding regions.

Economy and Government

Sheffield Town Hall and the Peace Gardens

Sheffield is governed by an elected City Council. Its Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.

Some of these processes are required by the law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose. The Constitution is divided into 16 articles which set out the basic rules governing the Council's business. More detailed procedures and Codes of Practice are provided in separate rules and protocols. 

The city also has a Lord Mayor. In the past, the Office of Mayor had very considerable authority, and carried with it executive powers over the finances and affairs of the Corporation. The Mayor carried out many of the duties later attached to the office of Town Clerk, and as well as presiding over the meetings of the Corporation, the Mayor also presided over the Bench of Magistrates as Chief Magistrate of the Borough Court.

The Lord Mayor's position has most recently been laid down by the Local Government Act 1972. This requires that; he shall be elected annually by the Council from among the Councillors, his/her term of office is for one year commencing at the Annual Meeting of Council, on the third Wednesday in May, during his term of office he shall continue to be a member of the Council, the Lord Mayor shall have precedence in all places in the district but not so as to prejudicially affect Her Majesty's Royal prerogative, and the Council may pay to the Lord Mayor for the purpose of enabling him to meet the expenses of his office such allowance as they think reasonable.

According to the Sheffield City Council Statement of Accounts 2001/2002 the Gross Revenue Expenditure of ã994 million was financed as follows; Council Tax 13% (ã131m) Specific Government Grants 18% (ã181m) Council House Rents 12% (ã120m) Fees, Charges and Other Income 14% (ã134m) Other Financing 3% (ã31m) Central Government Grants 40% (ã397m)

In May 2002, Sheffield City Council ran an innovative e-Voting pilot scheme to increase voter-participation.  The project was funded by the UK Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and entailed close cooperation between Central and Local Government to ensure that the broader benefits of the pilot extended beyond election day itself via the provision of a strong launching pad for wider e-Democracy initiatives.

This pilot was extended in 2003 to cover half of the City electorate in what was the world's biggest online governmental election to date.

The 2004 Barclays Bank Financial Planning study [1]revealed that, in 2003, the Sheffield district of Hallam was the highest ranking area outside London for overall wealth, the proportion of people earning over ã60,000 a year standing at almost 12%.


Sheffield Ski Village
Sheffield has a long sporting heritage. In
1855, a collective of cricketers joined with pupils from Collingswood School to form the first ever football club: Sheffield F.C, and by 1860 there were 15 football clubs in Sheffield. There are now only two local clubs in the Football League: Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.

Sheffield also has close ties with snooker, due to the fact that the city's Crucible Theatre is the venue for the World Snooker Championships. It also boasts the Sheffield Eagles rugby league, Sheffield Sharks basketball and Sheffield Steelers ice hockey teams.

The Sheffield Ski Village is the largest artificial ski resort in Europe, and the city also has two indoor climbing centres.

Many of Sheffield's extensive sporting facilities were built for the World Student Games which the city hosted in 1991 providing the Don Valley International Athletics Stadium, Sheffield Arena and Ponds Forge international diving and swimming complex. There are also facilities for golf, climbing and bowling, as well as a newly inaugurated (2003) ice-skating arena.


7.2% of Sheffield's working population are employed in the creative industries, well above the national average of 4% (Sheffield City Council Statistics, 2004) Sheffield has been the home of several well known bands and musicians, with an unusually large number of synth pop and other electronic outfits hailing from there. These include the Human League, Heaven 17, the Thompson Twins and the more industrially inclined Cabaret Voltaire. This electronic tradition has continued, with Moloko and Autechre, one of the leading lights of so-called intelligent dance music, also basing themselves in Sheffield. The city is also home to Gatecrasher One and Bed, two of the most popular nightclubs in the north of England.

Sheffield has also seen the birth of Pulp, Def Leppard, Joe Cocker and the free improvisors Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley.

The city's ties with music were acknowledged in 1999, when the National Centre for Popular Music, a museum dedicated to the subject of popular music was opened. It was not as successful as was hoped, however, and later evolved to become a live music venue. It was announced in February 2003 that the unusual steel-covered building would be given over to the student union at Sheffield Hallam University. Live music venues in the city include the Leadmill, the City Hall and the University of Sheffield.

Other famous Sheffielders include the actor Sean Bean and the ex-Monty Python member, Michael Palin.

Sheffield has two major theatres, the Lyceum Theatre and the Crucible, and four major art galleries, including the modern Millennium Galleries and the Site Gallery which specialises in multimedia.

National Centre For Popular Music Sheffield

The city also has several museums, including the Sheffield City Museum, the Kelham Island Museum, the Sheffield Fire and Police Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.

The films The Full Monty, Threads and Whatever Happened to Harold Smith were based in the city.

Sheffield's daily newspaper is the Sheffield Star, complemented by the weekly Sheffield Telegraph. The BBC's Radio Sheffield, and the independent Hallam FM broadcast to the city.

Sheffield is twinned with Bochum in Germany, and with the cities of Anshan in China, Donetsk in the Ukraine and Esteli in Nicaragua.


The M1 motorway links Sheffield to London, while the A57 and A61 roads run east-west and north-south through the city centre. An outer ring road relieves congestion in the east of the city, and an inner ring road due to finally be completed over the next few years will allow traffic to avoid the city centre. Congestion is a problem, particularly during rush hours in the west of the city.

The city has a tram system, known as the "Sheffield Supertram", operated by Stagecoach. There is also a sizable bus infrastructure, the hub of which is the Pond Street bus station and Archway Centre.

Sheffield once had two railway stations, Sheffield Victoria station on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, and Sheffield Midland station on the Midland Main Line. The former is now demolished, but the latter is still a major station on the British rail network.

Sheffield City Airport opened in 1997.

Buildings, landmarks and institutions

Notable buildings, landmarks and institutions in Sheffield include:
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Attercliffe Chapel
Beauchief Abbey, Birley Spa, Broomhill Church
Cathedral Church of St Marie, Cobweb Bridge, Crucible Theatre, Cutlers Hall
Don Valley Stadium
Hallam FM Arena, The "Hole in the Road
Lady's Bridge, Lyceum Theatre
Millennium Galleries
National Centre for Popular Music
Park Hill Flats, Peace Gardens, Ponds Forge
Sheffield Arena, Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Sheffield Castle, Sheffield Cathedral, Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield College, Sheffield General Cemetery, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Manor, Sheffield Star, Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield Winter Gardens, Shepherd Wheel, St. Mary's Parish Church, Handsworth
Tinsley viaduct
University of Sheffield

External links

Districts of England - Yorkshire and the Humber
Barnsley | Bradford | Calderdale | Craven | Doncaster | East Riding of Yorkshire | Hambleton | Harrogate | Hull | Kirklees | Leeds | North Lincolnshire | North East Lincolnshire | Richmondshire | Rotherham | Ryedale | Scarborough | Selby | Sheffield | Wakefield | York
Administrative counties with multiple districts: North Yorkshire - South Yorkshire - West Yorkshire