The city of Sheffield traces its roots back to the Late Stone Age. Located in South Yorkshire County, the city is one of Europe’s largest, containing a population of 551,800 residents. Deriving its name from the River Sheaf, by William de Lovetot, Nordic Lord of the manor is the founder of Sheffield. The Doomsday Book references the historic town of Escafeld in Sheffield, which at the time was an Anglo-Saxon village. Sheffield is spread out over and in-between seven hills, and its location at the base of Pennine highlands is where the converging of four streams join forces as the river, Don. Thanks to the abundant supply of water, settlements and trade sprung up in the area. Today, the city centre of Sheffield lies at the connection of the streams and rivers. The end of Norman Conquest gave birth to Sheffield Castle which was erected to shelter local communities. What is now known as Castle Square is where the market in Sheffield operated, pushing Sheffield’s status from an unimportant hamlet to small market town.
Get your Sheffield car hire and explore the city of Sheffield.
From the Middle Ages, Sheffield was a prime producer of iron and metal thanks to easily-accessible resources. Neighbouring forests produced plenty of charcoal that was used to melt iron ore, and the blacksmiths and cutlers pressed the resident sandstone into service as grindstones. The cutlery industry quickly expanded as one of the best in the business, and by the 17th century, Sheffield usurped London as the “cutlery town’ in the country. In 1740 after years of research, clockmaker Benjamin Huntsman revealed the crucible steel process. The procedure removed impurities, producing a superior quality of steel. While Sheffield cutlers initially refused to use Huntsman’s steel, they discovered that European competitors produced superior quality tableware using the same steel. With this new development, Sheffield’s production of steel jumped from 200 tonnes per year to 80,000 tonnes per year – almost half of the steel manufactured in Europe. The steel factories in the town were pressed into service to produce weapons and ammunition resulting the city being heavily targeted during bomb raids. The trade continued to remain steady despite setbacks after World War I and World War II.
Today, Sheffield continues to grow a significant producer of steel, machinery and cutlery in the UK. Opened in 2001, the Millennium Gallery is considered the arts and craft centre in Sheffield. Partnering with Tate and National Portrait Gallery, the Millennium Gallery displays some of the best art in the UK. The award-winning Sheffield Winter Garden contains over 2.500 plants from around the globe in what is arguably one of the UK’s largest glasshouses. The Sheffield Botanical Gardens, designed by Robert Marnock houses a large variety of plants and Grade II listed sites. One of Sheffield’s oldest buildings, the Sheffield Cathedral displays ancient Norman stones from the 11-12th Century, Tudor monuments and gorgeous stained glass windows. The city houses numerous theatres, galleries and ample outdoor sport. Walks climbs, bike trails, and parks offer the adventurous, exciting activities, while Peak District is open for discovery for those visiting on lengthier stays.
Here are five places you can tour for free in the city of Sheffield :
- Heeley City Farm
- Sheffield Cathedral
- Antiques Quarter
- Peace Gardens
- Weston Park MuseumAdditionally, Sheffield also hosts many festivals annually, and that’s only natural for a city that is the birthplace of bands like The Human League, Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard and Pulp. The cuisine is divine! Choose from an eclectic range of restaurants, coffee houses and cafes. If beer is your forte, there’s nowhere better to be! The city’s small pubs were built to provide refreshment during the Industrial Revolution, and the city thrives today as the Real Ale Capital of the World. Let the Sheffield seduce your senses!