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About Sheffield

Sheffield is the name for the town, city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire in north-central England, about 160 miles (260km) north of London. Sheffield sits at the base of the Pennine highlands near the place where the River Don forms out of the convergence of the Sheaf, Porter, Rivelin and Loxley streams. The west side of Sheffield abridges the peak district.

the entrance to Sheffield train station

Sheffield spans hills and valleys today, and retains the significant beauty of the area despite urban development and industrialisation. The dales of Derbyshire, with their pleasant woods, run up to the edge of the city, as do the moors of the Pennines, and the metropolitan borough includes part of the Peak District National Park.

In addition to this natural beauty, Sheffield has achieved noteworthy advances in industry and development. For student housing Sheffield click here.

The town was called Escafeld in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was an Anglo-Saxon village. In the 12th century William de Lovetot built his Norman castle and parish church there. The woodlands of the area made charcoal production more convenient, and the smelting of iron ore became a common industry in the area for that reason. Smiths took advantage of the local sandstone to make grindstones, and the local streams provided power for more advanced industrial practices developed by the 15th century, further developing metal-oriented industry in the area. By the 17th century, Sheffield was known as a centre of cutlery production, even rivalling London as a market leader in this area, eventually dominating and developing a near monopoly of the trade in England.

Many metallurgical advancements occurred in Sheffield as a result of the wealth the industry generated and the sheer amount of metalwork going on in the area. Benjamin Huntsman, in the 1740s, developed the crucible process of making steel. By 1830 Sheffield was recognised as the centre of high-grade steel manufacturing. Thomas Boulsover, one of the local cutlers, figured out how to use fusion to plate copper with silver in about 1742. Products of this kind became known as Sheffield plate. Henry Bessemer developed a method of making cheap steel in large quantities around 1856, and singlehandedly gave the already-thriving industry in Sheffield a significant bump upwards. Stainless steel was also invented in Sheffield in about 1912, just a year after Sheffield overtook Leeds as the most populous city in Yorkshire.

The late 20th century saw a decrease in Sheffield’s dominance as an industrial centre, but it is still a major producer of British steel, cutlery and machinery of various kinds, as well as having developed a food processing industry of note.

Sheffield has modern roads and has developed into a centre of shopping, culture, and education – not surprisingly this includes a reputation for excellent courses in metallurgy. Sheffield is home to the National Centre for Popular Music, the Graves art gallery, and the city museum.

The city and metropolitan borough has a population of more than 550,000 residents.


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