A large industrial city in south Yorkshire, famous for its historic iron and steel trade. The name Sheffield is derived from the River Sheaf, which now runs through culvert under the city.

Sheffield City Centre

Sheffield City Centre

Although the steel industry has declined over the decades, Sheffield is still recognised as a key contributor, and continues to specialise in modern metallurgical development.

Knife and cutlery manufacture can be traced back here to the Middle Ages. Later developments by Huntsman, Boulsover and Bessemer helped to make Sheffield steel the world's finest. In 1856, Henry Bessemer developed a system of producing steel in large volumes and by the early 1900s the city had the highest concentration of steel furnaces in Britain.

Sheffield's Victorian Renaissance-style town hall bears a statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge. A frieze above the main entrance depicts the iron, steel and silver-plate trades, which made Sheffield world famous.

There are several living museums dedicated to the metal industry, including the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and the Kelham Island Industrial Museum, which tells the story of steel with interactive exhibits and preserved machinery. The City Museum in Weston Park has displays of cutlery and plate, and not to be missed is Cutlers' Hall (in Church St), which exhibits a very fine silver collection from the Cutlers' Company, founded in 1624.

A great deal of the city was redeveloped after WW2 bombing, and much contemporary architecture now mixes with older surviving buildings. The city centre is currently a hub for learning, art and culture, which is portrayed in its many prestigious galleries. The Weston Park museum and gallery is noted for British paintings and sculptures. The Graves Art Gallery, in Surrey Street, displays 20th-c British works with French Impressionists and Oriental and Islamic art. The John Ruskin's collection is showcased in the Ruskin Gallery in Norfolk Street and the nearby Crucible Theatre remains one of Britain's most modern playhouses.

Sheffield's Fountain of Steel

The 15th-c church of St Peter and St Paul was made a cathedral in 1914 and has a modern chapter house, tower and entrance. It has a good collection of stained-glass by Christopher Webb and houses the tombs of the Earls of Shrewsbury.

Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for a time in Sheffield Castle, which once stood on Castlegate, by the River Don. Nothing now remains of this small fortress, which was demolished shortly after the English Civil War, due to its staunch Royalist loyalties.

The city is situated on a series of hills and its boundaries encompass many square miles of the Peak District National Park. In addition, the Pennines are only a short distance to the west, which together make Sheffield a natural centre for touring. However, visitors need not travel far as the city itself boasts over 50 parks, woodland areas and green open spaces, many offering magnificent views. Graves Park is the largest leisure park, covering some 200 acres, with a boating lake, play areas, tennis courts, nature trails and gardens.

Places of Interest to Visit in Sheffield

Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

A preserved late 18th-c steel and scythe works, comprising a Huntsman type crucible, steel workshops, forging hearths, tilt-hammers and workmen's cottages. Well worth a visit for an realistic insight to the city's industrial heritage.

Opening times: Saturday and Sunday from 10am - Admission Charge
Location: Abbeydale Rd S, Beauchief, Sheffield S7 2QW
Tel: 0114 272 2106
Website: simt.co.uk

Bishop's House

A restored, 15th-c timber framed domestic dwelling with later additions. One of only three half-timbered properties remaining in the city. Contains a small museum with period furnishings.

Opening times: Saturday & Sunday from 10am - Free Entry
Location: Norton Lees Ln, Meersbrook, Sheffield S8 9BE
Tel: 0114 255 7701
Website: bishopshouse.org.uk

Graves Art Gallery

Enjoy fine English watercolours and European masterpieces, including works by Murillo, Rubens, Cezanne, Matisse, Ribera and Corot. Also houses a collection of Chinese ivories from the Ching Dynasty.

Opening times: Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat from 10am - Free Entry
Location: Surrey St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 1XZ
Tel: 0114 278 2600
Website: museums-sheffield.org.uk

Kelham Island Industrial Museum

Located in a former tramway power station on a man-make island in the River Don. Discover the history of steel production with an original Bessemer Converter, steel workshops, steam engines and vintage transport. Interactive exhibits and regular demonstrations. Themed play area for children.

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday & Sunday from 10am - Admission Charge
Location: Alma St, Sheffield S3 8SA
Tel: 0114 272 2106
Website: simt.co.uk

Weston Park Museum

Purpose built museum covering the history of Sheffield from prehistory to present day. On display is cutlery and Sheffield plate dating back to the 16th-c, plus local ceramics, guns, clocks and watches. There is also a general collection of natural and local history, geology and archaeology. The site includes the Mappin Art Gallery, with works by British painters of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including Turner, Gainsborough and Constable.

Opening times: - Free Entry
Location: Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP
Tel: 0114 278 2600
Website: museums-sheffield.org.uk

Map of Sheffield


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