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The Sheffield Town Hall
The Old Queen's Head public house, Pond Hill, Sheffield, England

Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. It is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population.

During the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. Many innovations were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fueling an almost tenfold increase in the population during the Industrial Revolution.


  • Ther was no man, for peril, dorste hym touche. A Sheffeld thwitel baar he in his hose. Round was his face, and camus was his nose;
  • This town of Sheffield is very populous and large, the streets narrow, and the houses dark and black, occasioned by the continued smoke of the forges, which are always at work: Here they make all sorts of cutlery-ware, but especially that of edged-tools, knives, razors, axes, &. and nails;
    • Daniel Defoe, A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, (1724).
  • Some houses are brick, some stone, and there is a fair number of pretty ones; but they are lost in such a multitude of shapeless huts and outlandish factory-buildings that Sheffield could never pass for a fine town.
    • Alexandre and François La Rochefoucauld, Diaries, translation in Norman Scarfe, Innocent Espionage: The LA Rochefoucauld Brothers' Tour of England in 1785
  • If the people of Sheffield could only receive a tenth part of what their knives sell for by retail in America, Sheffield might pave its streets with silver.
  • Generally in Sheffield the average of the comfort of the lower classes is above that of most other places; we have not yet got into the abominable way of cellars or of many families living in the same house.
    • John Parker, Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Walks: Minutes of Evidence (1833), quoted in Clyde Binfield et al, The History of the City of Sheffield 1843-1993: Volume One: Politics, (1993).
  • What a beautiful place Sheffield would be, if Sheffield were not there!
    • Walter White, A Month in Yorkshire, (1861).
  • There is no more public spirit in Sheffield than there is in the smallest village of Yorkshire.
    • Thomas Moore, Sheffield Independent, 16 April 1870, quoted in Clyde Binfield et al, The History of the City of Sheffield 1843-1993: Volume One: Politics, (1993).
  • I see a pretty state of things in your Municipality. Everything is mean, petty, and narrow in the extreme. What a contrast to Leeds!
    • Anthony John Mundella, letter of October 1871 to Robert Leader, quoted in Clyde Binfield et al, The History of the City of Sheffield 1843-1993: Volume One: Politics, (1993).
  • ...the town of Sheffield is of great antiquity, and its manufactures are of world-wide reputation, especially that of cutlery, which has been celebrated for more than 500 years.
    • Petition for city status to Queen Victoria from Sheffield Town Council, 1 February 1893.
  • The progress of Sheffield in my lifetime has been something wonderful. Why, in my young days it was a little bit of a place of no consequence and no trade. When I think of the small notions and little minds of the public men of old Sheffield I can hardly realise that the City has become the fine important flourishing place it is today, one of the largest Cities of the Empire.
    • Frederick Mappin, 1905, quoted in Sidney Pollard, A History of Labour in Sheffield, (1959).
  • It could justly claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World: its inhabitants, who want it to be pre-eminent in everything, very likely make that claim for it … And the stench! If at rare moments you stop smelling sulphur it is because you have begun smelling gas.

COST Action C11 by European Commission[edit]

The European Commission's COST Action C11 (2004 - European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) cites, in its conclusions on "Case studies in Greenstructure Planning" involving 15 European countries. It says ...

  • Sheffield is fortunate to have one of the strongest green structures of any city in the UK. This green structure, which at its core is linked by watercourses, underlies the City. The effectiveness of the river system as the core of the green structure is supplemented by: the agricultural area, the moorland, the woodlands and water features which lie outside the built-up area. The public open spaces within the built-up area and extensive private gardens, which cover much of the surface of the City outside its core area, are also linked to this system.
  • All the features of the green structure in effect work together to make the City more environmentally sustainable: for example, together they act as a sponge to reduce flash flooding; they support a relatively high level of biodiversity, particularly because of the extent of the gardens and the existence of the natural corridors along the rivers; the valleys drain cooler air down from the hilltops towards the city centre and the industrial areas beyond, improving air quality and also temperatures in the summer in the built-up core.

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