The city of Sheffield is home to nearly six hundred thousand people, and is one of the most diverse and beautiful cities to live in in the UK. Its western suburbs nestle against the Peak district while much of the East side of the city nods to the steel industry, which, while still important, isn’t the dominating factor it once was in this daughter city of the industrial revolution.
Built on seven hills and hosting five rivers, Sheffield chiefly began to grow in the eighteenth century as a centre for metal working. The availability of abundant power, first in water, and later coal, together with mineral-rich rock coupled with some local inventions such as Sheffield Plate silver and the Bessemer converter, pushed Sheffield to the fore in the industrial revolution. The history of its rise can be seen in several dedicated preserved sites including Kelham Island, Shepherd Wheel and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.
Less well-known is that Sheffield is the birthplace of association football. The world’s oldest ground is in Hallam, while Sheffield United’s Bramhall Lane is the oldest professional ground, and the site of both the first football tournament ever, and the first floodlit game.
The city has a large cultural footprint too, particularly musically, with the local music scene producing acts from Joe Cocker to Pulp to ABC to the Arctic Monkeys. The Leadmill, in the city centre, remains one of the most important music venues in the North and Gatecrasher was for a while the centre of the dance music scene. It has also produced many fine actors, including Michael Palin, Keith Barron and Brian Blessed.
The University of Sheffield is a world-leading centre for research and one of the most highly acclaimed teaching universities in the UK, and, together with Sheffield Hallam University, provides much of the impetus for the social and cultural scene of the city centre.