This article is about the city in England. For other uses see Sheffield.
Sheffield is the fourth largest city in England. It is the only city in South Yorkshire, and was formerly part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and of the Saxon shire of Hallamshire. It is located at 53°23' North, 1°28' West. The 2001 Census states that Sheffield has a population of 513,234.
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People from Sheffield are called Sheffielders. They are also colloquially know as "Dee-dars" (apparently after the tonal qualities of their accent), although the term is in decline and is not nearly as prevalent as "Scouse" is for "Liverpudlian" or "Geordie" is for "Novocastrian".
The city nestles in a natural amphitheatre of seven hills, at the confluence of the rivers Don and Sheaf. Directly to the west is the Peak District National Park and the Pennine hill-range.
Sheffield was initially founded as a settlement in the iron ages, possibly as a defence against the Romans.
In the 12th century, Willam de Lovetot built Sheffield Castle around which the city grew. The subsequent stone-built castle was destroyed at the end of the English Civil War and stood at the site now occupied by the Castle Market buildings.
Some Robin Hood legends link the character to the Sheffield region, not least the associating of "Robert of Locksley" to the Sheffield region of Loxley, and the proximity of the city to the "Barnsdale" Forest.
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 has an international reputation for steel-making, which dates from 1740, when Benjamin Huntsman discovered the crucible technique for steel manufacture. This process was made obsolete in 1856 by Henry Bessemer's invention of the blast furnace which allowed the mass production of steel. Bessemer moved his Bessemer Steel Company to Sheffield to be at the heart of the industry. The last major Sheffield steel invention was that of stainless steel by Harry Brearley in 1912.
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.
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.
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.
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. However, it did not prove popular and soon closed. After a stint as a live music venue followed by a period of disuse, it was announced in February 2003 that the unusual steel-covered building would be given over to the student union at Sheffield Hallam University. Current live music venues in the city include the Leadmill, the City Hall and the University of Sheffield.
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.
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.
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.
Settlements in the borough of Sheffield include:
Notable buildings in Sheffield include: