Sheffield, a city whose name will be forever linked with the steel industry and the invention of ‘stainless steel.’ It’s a city with a rich heritage, but like many post-industrial cities in the North, it is a city forging a new identity in an increasingly competitive world.
Situated on the edge of The Peak District, Sheffield provides the perfect base to explore the National Park and the stunning Chatsworth House. If you’re limited for time the city itself has plenty to entertain you from shopping in Meadowhall to drama at the Crucible.
Sheffield is a surprising place and we have had a look around at some facts you may, or may not know about South Yorkshire’s premier city.
#10 – Sheffield Does Hollywood
An idea that may have been borrowed from Hollywood is to have a star-shaped plaque outside for the public to see. This has been a trend in Hollywood to celebrate life achievements in motion pictures, broadcast television, music, radio, and theatre. In the Sheffield Hall of Fame the criteria are simpler you have to be from Sheffield.
Some of the names currently in the Hall of Fame are Actor Sean Bean, England’s World Cup winner Gordon Banks, top selling rock band Def Leppard and Olympic Champion and double outdoor and indoor champion Jessica Ennis. Sheffield Council says that these people have been nominated by Sheffield residents as bringing the city recognition at national or international level.
#9 – Largest Shopping Centre in Yorkshire
Meadowhall is an indoor shopping centre based in Sheffield. It lies about three miles north-east of the city centre and is currently the eighth largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom and is also the biggest in Yorkshire.
With over 280 stores Meadowhall has been widely blamed for the closure of shops in Sheffield city centre and in nearby Rotherham. Meadowhall is owned by property developer British Land and attracted 19.8 million visitors in its first year. Today the mall attracts around 30 million visitors a year making it high on the list of reasons to visit Sheffield.
#8 – The Great Sheffield Flood
Not to be mistaken with floods in 2007, the great Sheffield Flood was a flood that devastated parts of Sheffield on 11 March 1864, when the Dale Dyke Dam broke as its reservoir was being filled for the first time. At least 240 people died and more than 600 houses were damaged or destroyed in the deluge.
The immediate cause was a crack in the embankment, but the source of the crack was never determined. The dams failure led to reforms in engineering practice, setting standards on specifics that needed to be met when constructing such a large scale structure, the dam was later rebuilt in 1875.
#7 – The Former Sheffield Ski Village
The Sheffield Ski Village was an artificial ski slope complex in the Parkwood Springs area of Sheffield until it was destroyed by a fire in 2012. Before its destruction, it was the largest artificial ski resort in Europe with a sports shop, bar, restaurant and a range of slopes.
On 29 April 2012, the main building of the ski village was destroyed by a fire. The blaze occurred in the early hours of the morning and no one was injured. The cause of the fire was ruled to have been started accidentally, with subsequent fires on the site been seen as direct arson attacks. Since the initial fire, the site has remained closed to the public. The site has stood derelict and has been blighted by significant fly tipping, theft, and vandalism ever since.
#6 – The Home of World Snooker
The Crucible Theatre was built in 1971 in the centre of Sheffield. As well as theatrical performances, it hosts the most prestigious event in professional snooker, the World Championship. The Crucible theatre has been the host of World Snooker Championship annually since 1977 and was the host of the Ladies World Snooker championship between 1998 and 2003.
Since moving to the Crucible Theatre the format has remained the same, 16 players compete for 8 seeds being joined by 8 qualifiers. The Crucible has seen many of the greats of Snooker compete such as Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan and much more. There is a famous curse called the ‘Crucible Curse’ this refers to the fact that no first-time snooker world champion has retained his title the following year since the tournament moved to the Crucible Theatre.
#5 – The Hallam District
I am guessing when you think of Britain’s highest earning area you would not think of Sheffield, however, you’d be wrong. According to a study the Hallam district of Sheffield, to the west of the city, has the largest number of affluent people anywhere in England outside London and the South East.
Almost eight per cent of those living in the suburb, which enjoys views of the peak district, claims to earn more than £60,000. This is a higher percentage than traditionally wealthy areas such as Windsor, Berks, and Tunbridge, Kent.
#4 – Is Sheffield a Village?
Sheffield is a city let’s just get that out of the way first. It is often known as the ‘largest village in England’ due to a combination of topographic and demographic factors. It is the largest city in the UK that does not form the basis of a conurbation and its encircling ring of hills renders Sheffield somewhat geographically isolated.
Also, the surrounding land which was unsuitable for industrial use now includes several protected green belt areas which have contained the urban spread. The city’s population size is therefore reasonably stable. Due to its historically large proportion of people employed in manufacturing, Sheffield has also been proclaimed to have far lower social polarization than many other cities. With some of these traits and many others Sheffield has earned the nickname the ‘largest village in England’.
#3 – The Steel History
The first thing that pops into people’s minds when they think of Sheffield is Steel. Sheffield was the ‘Steel City’ during the 19th century. It had gained an international reputation for steel production which was down to innovations that were developed locally. Some of these include the crucible (a large container for smelting iron) and stainless steel. This led to a massive increase in the population during the Industrial Revolution.
Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843 becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. Cheaper iron and steel production in other countries led to a decline in Sheffield’s steel industry during the 1970s and 1980s, which coincided with the collapse of coal mining in the area.
#2 – The Birthplace of Football
There’s a lot of dispute about this one but it is recognized as the birthplace of football as we know it today. Sheffield F.C. Was founded in 1857 the oldest club now playing association football. They originally played Sheffield Rules but in 1878 adopted the new Written up FA rules, which was written in? you guessed it, Sheffield.
his is not the only record that Sheffield has with football. For example, the first derby match as we would say today was contested between Sheffield F.C and local rivals Hallam and both of these clubs still existed and play each other every year in a friendly. Also, Sheffield held the first football tournament the Youdan Cup which was contested between teams based in Sheffield, The city also held the first ever night game that was played under the first set of floodlights.
#1 – The Capital of Green
Most people will think that Sheffield is an industrial city with factories spewing out pollution throughout the city however it’s the complete opposite. The city itself is located in the valleys of the river don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin and Sheaf. One-third of the city is located in the Peak District National Park. Putting this all together results in 61% of Sheffield is covered in entire green areas.
There are more than 250 parks, woodlands, and gardens in the city and an estimated 2 million trees. This gives Sheffield the record for most trees to people ratio to any city in the hole or England and the UK and even the whole of Europe. Making Sheffield one of the greenest places to live in Europe.