| 25,664 (2013)|
142.06 sq mi
| Yorkshire and the Humber|
Peter Rippon (L)
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 551,800 (2011 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000
During the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. Many innovations were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population during the Industrial Revolution. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in traditional local industries during the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.
The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield along with other British cities. Sheffields gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £9.2 billion in 2007. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.
The city is located within the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin, and the Sheaf. 61% of Sheffields entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.
The area now occupied by the City of Sheffield has been inhabited since at least the late Upper Palaeolithic period, about 12,800 years ago. The earliest evidence of human occupation in the Sheffield area was found at Creswell Crags to the east of the city. In the Iron Age the area became the southernmost territory of the Pennine tribe called the Brigantes. It is this tribe who are thought to have constructed several hill forts in and around Sheffield. Following the departure of the Romans, the Sheffield area may have been the southern part of the Celtic kingdom of Elmet, with the rivers Sheaf and Don forming part of the boundary between this kingdom and the kingdom of Mercia. Gradually, Anglian settlers pushed west from the kingdom of Deira. A Celtic presence within the Sheffield area is evidenced by two settlements called Wales and Waleswood close to Sheffield. The settlements that grew and merged to form Sheffield, however, date from the second half of the first millennium, and are of Anglo-Saxon and Danish origin. In Anglo-Saxon times, the Sheffield area straddled the border between the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that King Eanred of Northumbria submitted to King Egbert of Wessex at the hamlet of Dore (now a suburb of Sheffield) in 829, a key event in the unification of the kingdom of England under the House of Wessex. After the Norman conquest, Sheffield Castle was built to protect the local settlements, and a small town developed that is the nucleus of the modern city.
By 1296, a market had been established at what is now known as Castle Square, and Sheffield subsequently grew into a small market town. In the 14th century, Sheffield was already noted for the production of knives, as mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales, and by the early 1600s it had become the main centre of cutlery manufacture in England outside of London, overseen by the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. From 1570 to 1584, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor.
During the 1740s, a form of the crucible steel process was discovered that allowed the manufacture of a better quality of steel than had previously been possible. In about the same period, a technique was developed for fusing a thin sheet of silver onto a copper ingot to produce silver plating, which became widely known as Sheffield plate. These innovations spurred Sheffields growth as an industrial town, but the loss of some important export markets led to a recession in the late 18th and early 19th century. The resulting poor conditions culminated in a cholera epidemic that killed 402 people in 1832. The population of the town grew rapidly throughout the 19th century; increasing from 60,095 in 1801 to 451,195 by 1901. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1842 and was granted a city charter in 1893. The influx of people also led to demand for better water supplies, and a number of new reservoirs were constructed on the outskirts of the town. The collapse of the dam wall of one of these reservoirs in 1864 resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood, which killed 270 people and devastated large parts of the town. The growing population led to the construction of many back-to-back dwellings that, along with severe pollution from the factories, inspired George Orwell in 1937 to write: "Sheffield, I suppose, could justly claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World".
A recession in the 1930s was halted by increasing international tensions as the Second World War loomed; Sheffields steel factories were set to work manufacturing weapons and ammunition for the war effort. As a result, the city became a target for bombing raids, the heaviest of which occurred on the nights of 12 and 15 December 1940, now known as the Sheffield Blitz. More than 660 lives were lost and many buildings destroyed.
In the 1950s and 1960s, many of the citys slums were demolished, and replaced with housing schemes such as the Park Hill flats. Large parts of the city centre were also cleared to make way for a new system of roads. Increased automation and competition from abroad resulted in the closure of many steel mills (see steel crisis). The 1980s saw the worst of this run-down of Sheffields industries, along with those of many other areas of the UK. The building of the Meadowhall shopping centre on the site of a former steelworks in 1990 was a mixed blessing, creating much needed jobs but hastening the decline of the city centre. Attempts to regenerate the city were kick-started when the city hosted the 1991 World Student Games, which saw the construction of new sporting facilities such as the Sheffield Arena, Don Valley Stadium, and the Ponds Forge complex.
Sheffield is changing rapidly as new projects regenerate some of the more run-down parts of the city. One such, the Heart of the City Project, has initiated a number of public works in the city centre: the Peace Gardens were renovated in 1998, the Millennium Galleries opened in April 2001, the Winter Gardens were opened in May 2003, and a public space to link these two areas, the Millennium Square, was opened in May 2006. Additional developments included the remodelling of Sheaf Square, in front of the recently refurbished railway station. The new square contains The Cutting Edge, a sculpture designed by Si Applied Ltd and made from Sheffield steel.
Sheffield was particularly hard-hit during the 2007 United Kingdom floods and the 2010 Big Freeze. Many landmark buildings such as Meadowhall and the Sheffield Wednesday grounds flooded due to being close to nearby rivers that flow through the city.
Sheffield is located at 53°23?N 1°28?W. It lies directly beside Rotherham, from which it is separated largely by the M1 motorway. Although Barnsley Metropolitan Borough also borders Sheffield to the north, the town itself is a few miles further away. The southern and western borders of the city are shared with Derbyshire; in the first half of the 20th century Sheffield extended its borders south into Derbyshire, annexing a number of villages, including Totley, Dore, and the area now known as Mosborough Townships. Directly to the west of the city are the Peak District National Park and the Pennine hill range.
Sheffield is a geographically diverse city. The city nestles in a natural amphitheatre created by several hills and the confluence of five rivers: Don, Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley and Porter. As such, much of the city is built on hillsides with views into the city centre or out to the countryside. The citys lowest point is just 29 metres (95 ft) above sea level near Blackburn Meadows, while some parts of the city are at over 500 metres (1,640 ft); the highest point being 548 metres (1,798 ft) at High Stones, near Margery Hill. However, 79% of the housing in the city is between 100 and 200 metres (330 and 660 ft) above sea level.
Estimated to contain over two million trees, Sheffield has more trees per person than any other city in Europe, and according to Sheffield City Council, it is Englands greenest city, a claim that was reinforced when it won the 2005 Entente Florale competition. It has over 170 woodlands (covering 10.91 sq mi or 28.3 km2), 78 public parks (covering 7.07 sq mi or 18.3 km2) and 10 public gardens. Added to the 52.0 square miles (134.7 km2) of national park and 4.20 square miles (10.9 km2) of water this means that 61% of the city is greenspace. Despite this, about 64% of Sheffield householders live further than 300 metres (328 yd) from their nearest greenspace, although access is better in less affluent neighbourhoods across the city.
Sheffield also has a very wide variety of habitat, comparing favourably with any city in the United Kingdom: urban, parkland and woodland, agricultural and arable land, moors, meadows and freshwater-based habitats. There are six areas within the city that are designated as sites of special scientific interest.
The present city boundaries were set in 1974 (with slight modification in 1994), when the former county borough of Sheffield merged with Stocksbridge Urban District and two parishes from the Wortley Rural District. This area includes a significant part of the countryside surrounding the main urban region. Roughly a third of Sheffield lies in the Peak District National Park. No other English city included parts of a national park within its boundary, until the creation in March 2010 of the South Downs National Park, part of which lies within Brighton and Hove.
After many years of decline, the Sheffield economy is going through a strong revival. The 2004 Barclays Bank Financial Planning study 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 £60,000 a year standing at almost 12%. A survey by Knight Frank revealed that Sheffield was the fastest-growing city outside London for office and residential space and rents during the second half of 2004. This can be seen by the current surge of redevelopments, including the City Lofts Tower and accompanying St Pauls Place, Velocity Living, and the Moor redevelopment, the forthcoming NRQ and the recently completed Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens, Millennium Galleries, and many projects under the Sheffield One redevelopment agency. The Sheffield economy grew from £5.6 billion in 1997 (1997 GVA) to £9.2 billion in 2007 (2007 GVA).
Sheffield made the shortlist for the first city to be designated UK City of Culture, but in July 2010 it was announced that Derry had been selected.