The city of Sheffield has so much to offer and has an impressive history behind it. Originally founded in the early 12th century by William de Lovetot, the famous Steel City has come a long way over the years.
If you're a student who's currently living in Sheffield or will soon be living here from September, how much do you know about the area? If the answer is 'not a lot' then don't worry - here are our top ten facts about Sheffield that you may or may not have known…
1. A Green City
People often think of Sheffield as an industrial city, but it’s actually one of the greenest cities in the UK. Sheffield has the highest ratio of trees to people in Europe - there are over two million across the city! In the last few years, Sheffield has also adopted the 'Green City Strategy' which was developed by Sheffield City Council and Sheffield City Partnership. The strategy aims to reduce the city's impact on the climate by becoming a zero carbon city by the year 2050.
2. Rolling Down The River
The name Sheffield comes from the River Sheaf, one of several rivers that run through the city, along with the River Don and the River Loxley. Many years ago, it was called the 'Sceaf' which means border, so was known as the border river. The lower part of the River Sheaf once formed two sides of the boundary of Sheffield Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was once held prisoner!
3. Heavy Metal
You might have heard Sheffield being called the Steel City. This is because it gained an international reputation for steel production in the 19th century, and its population boomed during the Industrial Revolution. Some of the innovations developed in Sheffield include stainless steel and crucible, which is where the Crucible Theatre gets its name from. In the 1600s, Sheffield was also famous for producing cutlery which spanned over 250 years, and quickly developed a proto-industrial workforce that no other English town had done.
4. The Beautiful Game
Sheffield is home to the world’s oldest football club and its second oldest. Sheffield FC was founded in 1857 and Sheffield Hallam FC was founded just three years later. Sheffield Hallam FC’s Sandygate Road pitch was also named the oldest football ground in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. Today, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United FC are the two biggest teams in the city. The famous 'Steel City derby' is a huge local event, so keep an eye out for this if you're a football fan!
5. All The World’s A Stage
The Sheffield theatre complex is the largest in the UK outside of London. The Sheffield Lyceum, Crucible Theatre and Studio Theatre are located in Lyceum Square in the city centre and host a wide variety of plays and live performances. Sheffield Theatres also offer cheap theatre tickets for 16-26 year olds as part of their ‘Live for 5’ scheme. Check out what’s on offer here https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/your-visit/young-people/16-26-year-olds
6. Sheffield Stars
Hollywood isn’t the only place in the world with a Walk of Fame, Sheffield has one too! The Sheffield Legends plaques outside the Town Hall pay tribute to local celebrities who have achieved national or international acclaim. Some of the legends that have been identified include actor Sean Bean, Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis and astronaut Helen Sharman, who was the first ever Briton in space!
7. Music Is The Answer
Sheffield is well known for its music scene and has produced acts such as Pulp, Def Leppard, Bring Me The Horizon, Arctic Monkeys, Reverend and The Makers and The Human League. Pulp frontman, Jarvis Cocker, once felt out of a window on Division Street - there’s even a plaque commemorating the event!
Sheffield is also known to hold its annual summer music festival, Tramlines, since 2009, and what was once a small, independent festival is now considered one of the most popular festivals in the UK. This year's line-up included Two Door Cinema Club, Rag'n'Bone Man, Miles Kane and Lewis Capaldi.
8. Down And Out In Paris And Yorkshire
George Orwell, the novelist famous for writing Animal Farm and 1984, once said of the city: "Sheffield, I suppose, could justly claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World." Although this is a bit harsh, a lot has changed since he wrote this unflattering review in 1937. Take a look at Daniel Cook’s photographs of Sheffield and the surrounding area to see just how beautiful the city of Sheffield really is: https://danscape.co/best-photos-of-sheffield/
9. A Study In Sheffield
Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, worked as a doctor’s assistant in Sheffield in 1878. He supposedly took some inspiration from his time living in the area to write one of the most famous stories ever written, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is based on an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a supernatural hound.
10. Past To The Present
Sheffield was once home to the National Centre for Popular Music, which was located in the avant-garde building which is now home to The HUBS - Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union’s HQ! Here, you can have a drink at the Hideout bar, grab some lunch at Coffee Union, drop in to chat to our team about Societies and Volunteering, and much more!
Visit our website at hallamstudentsunion.com for more information about the city and your Students’ Union.