Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire, England, whose name derives from the River Sheaf which runs through it. The city serves as the administrative centre of the City of Sheffield. It is historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and some of its southern suburbs were transferred from Derbyshire to the city council. It is the largest settlement in South Yorkshire.
Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution, with many significant inventions and technologies having developed in the city. In the 19th century, the city saw a huge expansion of its traditional cutlery trade, when stainless steel and crucible steel were developed locally, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.
It has a long history of involvement in sport. Although cricket was the first organised sport, it has gradually been supplanted by football. Both the main two local football teams grew out of cricket teams. Sheffield can claim many firsts in football, the most famous one being Sheffield F.C. being the world’s first and oldest football club. Matches between the two professional clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, are known as the Steel City derby. The city is also home to the World Snooker Championship and the Sheffield Steelers, the UK’s first professional ice hockey team.
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 refurbished railway station.
Motorways near the city are the M1 and M18. Sheffield Parkway connects the city centre to the motorways. The M1 skirts the city’s north-east and crossing Tinsley Viaduct near Rotherham. The M18 branches from the M1 close to Sheffield, linking the city with Doncaster and ending at Goole.
Train services in Sheffield are operated by East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, TransPennine Express and Northern. Major railway routes through Sheffield station include the Midland Main Line (to London via the East Midlands), the Cross Country Route (which runs between eastern Scotland and south-west England) and the lines linking Liverpool and Manchester with Hull and East Anglia.
The closest airports are in Leeds Bradford, Humberside, East Midlands (within an hour’s drive of the city), Manchester (hourly direct service by South TransPennine).
The city’s universities are the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. The two combined bring about 60,000 students to the city every year.
Sheffield made the shortlist for the first city to be designated UK City of Culture.