Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire in the north of England. It is so named because of its origins in a field on the River Sheaf that runs through the town. Sheffield has grown from its industrial roots to encompass a wide economic base.
Sheffield's population is estimated at 516,100 people (2004), and it is one of the eight largest English cities outside London that form the English Core Cities Group.
Sheffield has become world famous for its production of steel. Many innovations in the industry have been developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel . This fuelled an almost tenfold increase in the population since the start of Industrial Revolution. It gained its city charter in 1893 and became officially titled the City of Sheffield. Interna
tional competition caused a decline in local industry during the 1970s and 1980s, affecting Sheffield's population. In recent years Sheffield has attempted to reinvent itself as a sporting and technology city; there are signs that this is reversing its fortunes.
Situated on the River Don, Sheffield is surrounded by seven hills that contain iron ore and by the 16th century had obtained a reputation for its production of knives, scissors, scythes and shears. These goods were mainly made in houses and small workshops. By the 18th century Sheffield also became an important coal mining area. In 1796 the population of the town was 9,095.
In 1742 Thomas Boulsover, a Sheffield cutler, began to fuse a thin layer of silver to copper to produce what became known as Sheffield Plate. Other craftsmen in Sheffield began to use this method to produce tableware that looked like silver, at a fraction of its cost.
The 1840s saw another important development that was to contribute to Sheffield's prosperity. Benjamin Huntsman, working at a foundry at Handsworth, 4 miles east of Sheffield, discovered how to make good quality hard steel with less expenditure of labour and fuel. This stimulated the trade and by 1787 there were eleven steel-makers using the Huntsman method.
During the second half of the 18th century industrial development and a growth in population increased the demand for houses. Terraces of small houses were built on the colder, northern slopes, whereas the successful business community built their larger houses on the higher, south-facing slopes of the town.
The 1821 the population of Sheffield had reached 31,314. Over the next forty years the population grew rapidly and by 1861 the number of inhabitants had reached 185,000.
Sheffield is also a major retail centre, although it compares unfavourably with other major cities, it is home to many High Street and department stores as well as designer boutiques. The main city centre shopping areas are on The Moor precinct, Fargate, Orchard Square and the Devonshire Quarter. Department stores in Sheffield City centre include John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Atkinsons, Castle House Co-op and Debenhams. Sheffield's main market is the Castle Market, built above the remains of the castle. Shopping areas outside the city centre include the Meadowhall shopping centre and retail park, Ecclesall Road, London Road, Hillsborough and the Crystal Peaks shopping centre. There are also several retail parks around Crystal Peaks.
Sheffield has a long sporting heritage. In 1857 a collective of cricketers formed the world's first-ever official football club, Sheffield F.C., and by 1860 there were 15 football clubs in Sheffield. There are now two local clubs in the Football League: Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, and two major non-league sides: Sheffield F.C. and Hallam F.C. (the two oldest club sides in the world). Hallam F.C. still play at the world's oldest football ground near the suburb of Crosspool.
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. The English squash open is also held there every year. The city also boasts the Sheffield Eagles rugby league, Sheffield Sharks basketball and Sheffield Steelers ice hockey teams. Sheffield is home to 2004 World Superbike champion James Toseland and of climber Joe Simpson. Former athlete and world record holder, Sebastian Coe grew up in the city and began his career as a member of the Hallamshire Harriers.
Many of Sheffield's extensive sporting facilities were built for the World Student Games, which the city hosted in 1991. They include the Don Valley International Athletics Stadium, Sheffield Arena, and Ponds Forge international diving and swimming complex, where Olympic medallist Leon Taylor trains. There are also facilities for golf, climbing and bowling, as well as a newly inaugurated (2003) national ice-skating arena (IceSheffield).
Sheffield has two major theatres, the Lyceum Theatre and the Crucible Theatre, which together with the smaller Studio Theatre make up the largest theatre complex outside London. There are four major art galleries, including the modern Millennium Galleries and the Site Gallery, which specialises in multimedia.
The city also has a number of other attractions such as the Sheffield Winter Gardens and the Peace Gardens. The Botanical Gardens are currently undergoing a Â£6.7-million-pound restoration. There is also a city farm at Heeley City Farm and a second animal collection in Graves Park that is open to the public. The city also has several museums, including the Sheffield City Museum, the Kelham Island Museum, the Sheffield Fire and Police Museum, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel. Victoria Quays is also a popular canal-side leisure and office quarter.
There are about 1,000 listed buildings in Sheffield (including the whole of the Sheffield postal district). Of these, only five are Grade I listed. 42 are Grade II*, the rest being Grade II listed. Compared with other English cities Sheffield has few Grade I buildings. Liverpool, for example, has 26 Grade I listed buildings. This situation led the noted architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner, writing in 1959, to comment that the city was "architecturally a miserable disappointment" with no pre-19th century buildings of any distinction.
Large parts of the city are designated as sites of special scientific interest (areas of land which the British Government considers to be of special interest by virtue of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features) including several urban areas.
Sheffield has two universities, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. The two combined bring 45,000 students to the city every year, including many from the Far East. As a result of its large student population, Sheffield has many bars, cafes, clubs and shops as well as student housing to accommodate them.
Sheffield has only two colleges: Longley Park Sixth Form College, opened in 2004, and Sheffield College, created from the merger of six colleges around the city, since reduced to just three: Castle College in the city centre, Hillsborough College and Norton College. There are also 141 primary schools and 23 secondary schools, of which seven have sixth forms, most notably,High Storrs School, Silverdale School and King Edward School in the south of Sheffield. There are also seven private schools.
Sheffield is linked into the national motorway network via the M1 and M18 motorways. The M1 skirts the north-east of the city, linking Sheffield with London to the south and Leeds to the north; the M18 branches from the M1 close to Sheffield, linking the city with Doncaster, Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the Humber ports. The Sheffield Parkway connects the city centre with the motorways.
The topography of Sheffield makes it unsuitable for a large rail system. The Midland Main Line is the major railway through Sheffield, running in approximately a south-west to north-easterly direction. Other routes passing through the city include the Cross Country Route, the Penistone Line, the Dearne Valley Line, the Hope Valley Line, and the Hallam Line. The major station serving the city, Sheffield Station, is on the south-eastern edge of the city centre. There is another rail station at Meadowhall and four smaller suburban stations at Chapeltown, Darnall, Dore and Woodhouse. Passenger rail services through Sheffield are provided by Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains, Central Trains, TransPennine Express, and Northern Rail.
The closest international airport to Sheffield is Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, which is located 18 miles from the city centre. The Airport opened on April 28, 2005 and is served mainly by budget airlines and currently handles around one million passengers a year. Sheffield City Airport opened in 1997 but, due in part to its short runway and lack of radar, has been unable to capitalise on the boom in low cost air travel. Manchester International Airport, Leeds Bradford International Airport and Nottingham East Midlands Airport all lie within a one hour's drive of the city. Manchester International Airport is connected to Sheffield by an direct train every hour. This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia