Sheffield – Mixed history

General facts

Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire in northern England. The name Sheffield comes from the river Sheaf running through the city. Population is about 560 000 In the district off which 520 000 lives in the city. In the beginning industry was big in the city but lately the economic base has been wider. Today Sheffield is one of the eight largest cities in England. From a historical view Sheffield is a part of West Riding of Yorkshire and in the 19th century Sheffield was known for its production of steel. Many inventions in the steel business were invented in Sheffield, among others the rust-free steel. This led to an increase in the population during the industrial revolution. Sheffield got its city rights in 1893. In the 70´s the city was affected by the international competition which led to a large gap in the population. Also, the charcoal industry in the area was affected in this period, also decreasing population in the area.

Saxans and Normands

The area where the city lies has been populated since the last ice age. The habitats that has evolved into the society of today is of a mixed kind. The original inhabitants are Anglo-Saxon and Danish from the beginning. During the Anglo-Saxon era the city was in between kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. In the chronicle from the Anglo-Saxons you can read about the submission of Eanred of Northumbria to king Egbert of Wessex in the year 82 at Dore, which today is a suburb to Sheffield. This meant that king Egbert was the first Saxon to claim England. To control the habitats after the Normand invasion Sheffield castle was built.  Around the castle the main parts of the city of today has been built. At the square that is called “Castle square! A market grew in the late 13th century. Now Sheffield became a commercial city of northern England.

Knifes and Mary Queen of Scots

Sheffield was established in the 14th century as a knifemaking city. This is mentioned in Geofferey Chaucers “The Canterbury tales” Later on in the 17th century almost all cutleries were made in Sheffield. It was all run by Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. In 14 years, 1570–1584, Mary Queen of Scots, were held prisoner at Sheffield Manor and Sheffield Castle. She was executed for conspiring and planning to kill her cousin, Queen Elisabeth I of England.

Industrial development and complications

In the middle of the 18th century the steel industry was evolving. Now steel could be made into much better quality than before. What later was to be named as Sheffield Plate was a technique of making copper surrounded by silver making it silver-plated. This discovery made the status of Sheffield as an industrial platform high once again. In the shift between 18th and 19th century the city was hit by massive export losses which led to less work and less money for the workers. As a result, from poor living, an epidemic of cholera killed nearly 400 people in the year 1832. The industrial revolution in the 19th century, however, led to increased population in the city which led to the need of bigger ponds. As new ponds were built to meet the need, one burst and killed 270 people. In World War II the city was once again hit by death, The Sheffield Blitz that killed 700 people and destroyed buildings.

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