Weekly City Spotlight: Sheffield


Sheffield Town Hall

The city of Sheffield is located on the River Sheaf in South Yorkshire, world famous for its steel production, and also recognised as the birthplace of many successful bands. With over 2million trees Sheffield is regarded as one of the greenest cities and the Peace, Botanical and Winter Gardens can all be enjoyed within the city, part of which is located within the Peak District National Park. With museums and manor houses to explore, together with great nightlife and shopping facilities, Sheffield offers the opportunity for a fantastic city break.

Historic Sheffield
Early settlers in Sheffield included the Brigantes, a Pennine tribe present during the Iron Age as well as Anglo-Saxons and the Danes, with Sheffield Castle built following the Norman Conquest in 1066 to offer protection against further invasion.

The area continued to develop and by 1296 it had become a market town with the production of cutlery a growing and important industry for the area.  With advances in manufacturing techniques improvements were made to the quality of the steel being produced and Sheffield Plate was developed in the 1700’s, with the steel industry bringing rapid growth to the town.  Sheffield was granted City Status in 1893. During the Second World War Sheffield was focussed on manufacturing ammunition and weapons and as such was targeted with sustained bombing raids, including the Sheffield Blitz which took place in December 1940, resulting in the sad loss of 660 lives and extensive damage within the city leaving thousands homeless.

Sheffield is also known for its sport, home to the world’s oldest football derby between Hallam and Sheffield FC.  Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday are also based in the city, with The Crucible in Sheffield hosting the World Snooker Championships each year, as well as many other events.

Popular Culture
Sheffield is a historic and cultural city and as such has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
The Full Monty (1997) was set in Sheffield and starred Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape and Tom Wilkinson, as an unemployed group of steel workers who form a striptease act to raise funds for one of the group to see his son. As well as a musical and play, The Full Monty also received an Academy Award.

The History Boys (2006) was set in a boys grammar school in Sheffield whilst the students are preparing for entrance exams for Oxford and Cambridge.  An adaptation of the original play by Alan Bennett, Richard Griffiths, James Corden and Dominic Cooper all feature in this all star cast.

When Saturday Comes (1996) starred Sean Bean, Emily Lloyd and Pete Postlethwaite and focusses on a factory worker who joins Hallam FC before moving onto Sheffield United Football Club. Former Sheffield Wednesday player Mel Sterland also stars in the film.

Granny Was a Buffer Girl – Berlie Doherty, published in 1986 this novel followed the lives of a family based in Sheffield, from the 1930-1980s. The author of this young-adult novel was awarded the Library Association’s Carnegie Medal for this successful work.

Dear Nobody – another novel by Berlie Doherty deals with the issues surrounding an unplanned pregnancy and its effect on the teenage parents and their families.  Again Doherty set this story in Sheffield, with the author connected to the city through her studies at the University of Sheffield.

Lawless and Tilley Series – Malcolm Rose has set many of his stories in the north of England, choosing to set this series in the city of Sheffield.  DI Brett Lawless and DS Clare Tilley feature as the key characters in the novels with titles in the series including Magic Eye and The Secrets of the Dead.

Social Media
Additional information on Sheffield can be found on its official website Welcome To Yorkshire as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Famous Faces
Harry Brearley was born in Sheffield on 18th February 1871 and is credited with inventing rustless steel (stainless steel) which Sheffield would later become world famous for.

Jarvis Cocker, the lead singer of Britpop band Pulp was born in Sheffield on 19th September 1963. A renowned singer/songwriter, Cocker has also enjoyed a successful solo career as well as acting and directing roles.

Dominic West, a star of stage and screen who is best known for his portrayal of Jimmy McNulty in The Wire was born in Sheffield on 15 October 1969.

Sheffield Town Hall
The striking Sheffield Town Hall is a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic revival architecture, it dates back to 1890 and is located in Pinstone Street. Following the extension which was added in 1923, the Peace Gardens were created and originally named St Paul’s Gardens after the church which had previously stood adjacent to the Town Hall.

Weston Park Museum
One of a number of museums based in Sheffield, Weston Park offers free admission and a chance to learn about Sheffield’s history with exhibitions including Sheffield and the First World War as well as Sheffield Life and Times, the Artic World, What on Earth and Treasures.  Located in Weston Park, the magnificent building dates back to 1875, with the adjoining Mappin Art Gallery established in 1887.


Hallam Union Building of Sheffield

Hallam Union Building of Sheffield
The development of the iconic stainless steel drum buildings were part of a project to establish the National Centre for Popular Music Museum which opened in 1999, highly appropriate as Sheffield has been the birthplace of many successful groups including Pulp, Human League, Artic Monkeys, Def Leppard and artists such as Joe Cocker.  The project didn’t achieve the anticipated success and subsequently became a live music venue, and from 2005 has been the home of Sheffield Hallam University’s Student Union.

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