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The history of Sheffield

The Beginnings:


Sheffield is located in the county of South Yorkshire in the North of England. It was first established as an Anglo Saxon village. This village was nothing but a small clearing in the forest which today has expanded to become the fourth largest city in England. The name Sheffield is derived from the words 'sheaf' and 'feld'. 'Sheaf' is the name of the river that runs through the city and 'feld' meaning 'field' in reference to the setting up of the Anglo Saxons settlement. The expansion of the village to a town brought with it disease and poverty. There were more people able to pass through the city or take up residency there due to the Industrial Revolution and increased transportation conditions. However, in 1843 Sheffield became a borough, with this came the improved conditions and the introduction of institutions to the town such as churches, hospitals and schools. Sheffield was recognised as a city in 1893. It is a derivative of a market and parish town. Today there are still daily local markets in the city centre and the city's cathedral is a spectacular sight.

Industry in the City


Sheffield became one of the leading industrial cities in Britain and is still recognised for its large contribution to the highly successful steel industry. The city has been referred to on many occasion as 'steel city' and used as a base to describe the scene for Charles Dickens' book Hard Times. From the middle of the nineteenth century Sheffield was, and still is, one of the worlds most foremost Steel manufacturers. Most of the steel works were based at the East end of the city, the Lower DonValley area. A man by the name of Thomas Boulsover discovered the process of fusing copper and silver together. This produced something that resembled silver but was a lot cheaper to manufacture. From this, a product called 'Sheffield Plate' was created. It was used to make items such as buckles and snuff boxes. This development of Sheffield Plate helped the city's industry to grow. Despite many of the steel firms being shut down after the second World War, Sheffield produces more steel than ever today. The inventions of new technologies and the change in market demands has kept the industry alive and well.

Not only is Sheffield known for its success in the steel industry, other industries have started their successes in Sheffield. For instance in the 1800's small family mills produced secret snuff recipes that are still going today. Trebor Bassett the sweet factory started out in Sheffield in 1842 by George Bassett and has grown to become a market leader today. Another big industry to Sheffield that realmed from the success of steel was that of cutlery. The manufacturing of cutlery began in the middle ages and led to the foundation of the Cutlers Company of Hallamshire in 1624. There are still reminders of the Cutlers of Sheffield through the construction of the Cutlers Hall in the city centre which has good public use.


Transport in Sheffield


Sheffield is built upon seven hills and has the waters of five rivers running through it; including the Don, Sheaf and the Porter Brook. It has a population of over 500,000 people. These waterways have helped with the success stories of Sheffield's industries. Sheffield was linked to a national canal system in 1819. Before the introduction of faster transport systems these canals were the means of distribution. Sheffield in particular with its thriving steel industry heavily relied on the waterways and they hold a great part in the history of Sheffield. No later than 20 years after first using the waterways, there was the introduction of the railway system to the city. This quickened production and delivery of all products to and from the city. In 1873 the first trams were introduced to Sheffield. They came in the form of horse drawn trams which were later replaced in1899 by electric trams. The tram service in Sheffield has continued to flourish with the most recent advancement being the introduction of the Supertrams in 1994. This has become the country's most advanced urban tram system.

Sheffield Today


Today the city of Sheffield is full of opportunity for all. The city is under going a strong regeneration programme and is looking more cosmopolitan by the day. It was granted the sporting city of England in recent years and many famous names have performed here and is also host to two great football teams. Sheffield was the first city to have a football team and the first to have a floodlit match, this was held at Brammell Lane. The city's Cultural Industries Quarter is being vastly regenerated with the addition of the National Centre for Popular Music two years ago. The city has become well known for its musical accreditation's producing some well known artists such as; Jarvis Cocker and Moloko. The city of Sheffield has a lot to aspire to and will remain to be one of the country's most successful cities in years to come.