Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. The name derives from the River Sheaf which runs through the city. It is a historic part of Yorkshire, although some southern suburbs have been annexed from Derbyshire. The city is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, and the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin and the Sheaf. Sixty-one per cent of Sheffield's entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, which is estimated to contain around 4.5 million trees.
Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution, with many significant inventions and technologies having developed in the city. In the 19th century, the city saw a huge expansion of its traditional cutlery trade, when stainless steel and crucible steel were developed locally, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893.
The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield. Sheffield's gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £11.3 billion in 2015. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.
The city has a long sporting heritage and is home to both the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C., and the world's oldest football ground, Sandygate. Games between the two professional clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, are known as the Steel City derby. The city is also home to the World Snooker Championship and the Sheffield Steelers, the UK's first professional ice hockey team.
Sheffield is the second largest city in the Yorkshire and The Humber region. The Sheffield Built-up Area includes the town of Rotherham. The district borough is the 3rd most populous district in England. It is one of eight English cities that make up the Core Cities Group.
The Sheffield economy is going through a strong revival. The 2004 Barclays Bank Financial Planning study revealed that, in 2003, the Sheffield district of Hallam was the highest ranking area outside London for overall wealth, the proportion of people earning over £60,000 a year standing at almost 12%. A survey by Knight Frank revealed that Sheffield was the fastest-growing city outside London for office and residential space and rents during the second half of 2004. This can be seen in a surge of redevelopment, including the City Lofts Tower and accompanying St Paul's Place, Velocity Living and the Moor redevelopment, the forthcoming NRQ and the Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens, Millennium Galleries and many projects completed under the Sheffield One redevelopment agency. The Sheffield economy grew from £5.6 billion in 1997 (1997 GVA) to £9.2 billion in 2007 (2007 GVA).
The "UK Cities Monitor 2008" placed Sheffield among the top ten "best cities to locate a business today", the city occupying third and fourth places respectively for best office location and best new call centre location. The same report places Sheffield in third place regarding "greenest reputation" and second in terms of the availability of financial incentives.
Heavy industries and metallurgy Sheffield has an international reputation for metallurgy and steel-making. The earliest official record of cutlery production, for which Sheffield is particularly well known, is from 1297 when a tax return for 'Robert the Cutler' was submitted. A key reason for Sheffield's success in the production of cutlery lies in its geographic makeup. The abundance of streams in the area provided water power and the geological formations in the Hope Valley, in particular, provided sufficient grit stones for grinding wheels. In the 17th century, the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, which oversaw the booming cutlery industry in the area and remains to this day, was established and focused on markets outside the Sheffield area, leading to the gradual establishment of Sheffield as a respected producer of cutlery. this gradually developed from a national reputation into an international one.
Playing a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution, the city became an industrial powerhouse in the 18th century, and was dubbed "Steel City". Many innovations in these fields have been made in Sheffield, for example Benjamin Huntsman discovered the crucible technique in the 1740s at his workshop in Handsworth. Thomas Boulsover invented Sheffield Plate (silver-plated copper) in the early 18th century.
Stainless steel was invented by Harry Brearley in 1912, bringing affordable cutlery to the masses. The work of F. B. Pickering and T. Gladman throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was fundamental to the development of modern high-strength low-alloy steels. Further innovations continue, with new advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques being developed on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, situated just over the boundary in the borough of Rotherham, by Sheffield's universities and other independent research organisations. Organisations located on the AMP include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC, a research partnership between the Boeing Company and the University of Sheffield), Castings Technology International (CTI), The Welding Institute (TWI), Rolls-Royce plc and McLaren Automotive.
Forgemasters, founded in 1805, is the sole remaining independent steel works in the world and dominates the north-east of Sheffield around the Lower Don Valley. The firm has a global reputation for producing the largest and most complex steel forgings and castings and is certified to produce critical nuclear components, with recent projects including the Royal Navy's Astute-class submarines. The firm also has the capacity for pouring the largest single ingot (570 tonnes) in Europe and is currently in the process of expanding its capabilities.
Other areas of employment include call centres, the City Council, universities and hospitals.
Public sector Sheffield has a large public sector workforce, numbering 77,500 workers. During the period 1995 – 2008 the number of jobs in the city increased by 22% and 50% of these were in the public sector. Major public sector employers include the NHS, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, and numerous government departments and agencies including the Home Office (Visas & Immigration), Department for Education & Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Recently developed offices in St Paul's Place and Riverside Exchange play host to the aforementioned government departments.
Sheffield City Council, which is also a major public sector employer in the city, employs over 8,000 people, spread across four different sections (known as portfolios). Sheffield City Council is also the Local Education Authority (LEA) and as such manages all states schools and their associated staff. As part of its mandate to provide public services, Sheffield City Council maintains contracts with three private contractors - Amey, Veolia & Capita. Together, these contractors provide additional employment in the city.
Retail Sheffield is a major retail centre, and is home to many High Street and department stores as well as designer boutiques. The main shopping areas in the city centre are on The Moor precinct, Fargate, Orchard Square and the Devonshire Quarter. Department stores in the city centre include Marks and Spencer and Atkinsons. Sheffield Moor Market opened in 2013 and became the main destination for fresh produce. The market has 196 stalls and includes local and organic produce, as well as international fusion cuisine such as Russian, Jamaican and Thai.
Meadowhall shopping centre, located to the north of Sheffield close to the boundary with Rotherham and next to the M1 motorway, is a major regional shopping destination and currently ranked eleventh largest in the UK with a floor-space of 139,355 m² (1,500,000 sq ft). Attracting over 30 million visitors a year the centre hosts 270 shops, 37 restaurants and a cinema. Many nationally renowned brands have a presence at the centre including House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Hugo Boss & Jaeger. The centre is connected to the city centre by rail, Supertram and bus services. The opening of Meadowhall in 1990 marked the beginning of major rejuvenation in the Lower Don Valley.
Other shopping areas outside the city centre include Ecclesall Road (with a strong student presence and many bars and restaurants), London Road (known for its diverse demographic and cuisines), Hillsborough, Firth Park and the Crystal Peaks shopping centre (the main shopping destination on the south-east side of the city). In a 2010 survey of forecast expenditure at retail centres in the United Kingdom, Meadowhall was ranked 12th and Sheffield City Centre 19th.
Efforts have been made to rejuvenate Sheffield City Centre and improve the retail and leisure offering. Major developments include Leopold Square, The Moor, St Paul's Place (a mixed use development) and the Heart of the City I & II projects.
Tourism Tourism plays a major role in the city's economy on account of numerous attractions - namely the Peak District, sports events (in particular, the Snooker World Championships) and musical festivals (such as Tramlines). In 2019, the tourism industry in Sheffield was valued at £1.36 billion and supported 15,000 jobs.
In 2012, Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone was launched to promote development in a number of sites in Sheffield and across the wider region. In March 2014 additional sites were added to the zone.
Sheffield is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Sheffield is ranked #177 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Sheffield was ranked #580 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Sheffield has a population of over 693,000 people. Sheffield also forms part of the wider Sheffield metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,570,000 people. Sheffield is the #101 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.4039 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.