Place:Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

Alt namesEscafeldsource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) II, 855
Sadfeldsource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 415
Scafeldsource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 415
TypeBorough (county)
Coordinates53.383°N 1.467°W
Located inWest Riding of Yorkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inYorkshire, England    
South Yorkshire, England     (1974 - )
See alsoSheffield (metropolitan borough), South Yorkshire, Englandunitary authority of which the borough of Sheffied is the major part
Contained Places
Sheffield Cathedral
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

NOTE: This article deals with the City of Sheffield and its history. There is a second article on the post-1974 Metropolitian Borough of Sheffield and its modern ward structure.

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Until 1974 Sheffield was a city in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through it. The city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base with a population of over 500,000.

During the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. Many innovations were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population during the Industrial Revolution. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. The requirements of socio-economic improvements plus those of two world wars maintained the demand for the quality steel produced by Sheffield for the first three-quarters of the 20th century. However, during the 1970s and 1980s international competition grew, causing a decline in traditional local industries. This coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.

The city is located within the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin, and the Sheaf. 61% of Sheffield's entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District National Park.


Economic History

the text in this section is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia

The settlements that grew and merged to form Sheffield, however, date from the second half of the 1st millennium, and are of Anglo-Saxon and Danish origin. In Anglo-Saxon times, the Sheffield area straddled the border between the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that King Eanred of Northumbria submitted to King Egbert of Wessex at the hamlet of Dore (now a suburb of Sheffield) in 829, a key event in the unification of the kingdom of England under the House of Wessex. After the Norman conquest, Sheffield Castle was built to protect the local settlements, and a small town developed that is the nucleus of the modern city.

By 1296, a market had been established at what is now known as Castle Square, and Sheffield subsequently grew into a small market town. In the 14th century, Sheffield was already noted for the production of knives, as mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and by the early 1600s it had become the main centre of cutlery manufacture in England outside of London.

During the 1740s, a form of the crucible steel process was discovered that allowed the manufacture of a better quality of steel than previously possible. In about the same period, a technique was developed for fusing a thin sheet of silver onto a copper ingot to produce silver plating, which became widely known as Sheffield plate. The population of the town grew rapidly throughout the 19th century; increasing from 60,095 in 1801 to 451,195 by 1901. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1842 and was granted a city charter in 1893. The influx of people also led to demand for better water supplies, and a number of new reservoirs were constructed on the outskirts of the town. The collapse of the dam wall of one of these reservoirs in 1864 resulted in the Great Sheffield Flood, which killed 270 people and devastated large parts of the town. The growing population led to the construction of many back-to-back dwellings that, along with severe pollution from the factories, inspired wikipedia:George OrwellGeorge Orwell in 1937 to write: "Sheffield, I suppose, could justly claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World".

A recession in the 1930s was halted by increasing international tensions as the Second World War loomed; Sheffield's steel factories were set to work manufacturing weapons and ammunition for the war effort. As a result, the city became a target for bombing raids, the heaviest of which occurred on the nights of 12 and 15 December 1940, now known as the Sheffield Blitz. More than 660 lives were lost and many buildings destroyed.

In the 1950s and 1960s, increased automation and competition from abroad resulted in the closure of many steel mills. The 1980s saw the worst of this run-down of Sheffield's industries, along with those of many other areas of the UK.

Areas of Sheffield

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The areas of Sheffield, a city and metropolitan borough in the north of England, vary widely in size and history. Some of the areas developed from villages or hamlets, that were absorbed into Sheffield as the city grew, and thus their centres are well defined, but the boundaries of many areas are ambiguous. The areas of Sheffield do not play a significant administrative role, but the city is divided into 28 electoral wards for local elections and 6 parliamentary constituencies for national elections.

History and Growth

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Prior to 1848 the parish of Sheffield was divided into six townships:

  • Attercliff-cum-Darnall;
  • Brightside Bierlow;
  • Ecclesall Bierlow;
  • Nether Hallam;
  • Sheffield township; and
  • Upper Hallam.

In 1832 the new borough constituency of Sheffield was formed from these townships with the exception of most of Upper Hallam and parts of Ecclesall Bierlow. In 1843 the Municipal Borough of Sheffield was created from the whole of the six townships, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893.

The following suburbs and estates are within Sheffield and may be found as places of birth, marriage and death of former residents. Some are also census registration districts.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI on Sheffield. The GENUKI page gives numerous references to local bodies providing genealogical assistance.
  • The FamilySearch wiki on the ecclesiastical parish of Sheffield provides a list of useful resources for the local area. It includes a complete list of Sheffield parish churches and chapels, including those in villages now absorbed into the city, with some descriptions.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time on Sheffield.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time also provides links to three maps for what is now South Yorkshire, produced by the United Kingdom Ordnance Survey, illustrating the boundaries between the civil parishes and the rural districts at various dates. These maps all blow up to a scale that will illustrate small villages and large farms or estates.
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding 1888. The "Sanitary Districts (which preceded the rural districts) for the whole of the West Riding.
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding South 1900. The rural and urban districts, not long after their introduction. (the southern part of Bradford, the southern part of Leeds, the southern part of Tadcaster Rural District, the southern part of Selby, Goole Rural District, and all the divisions of Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield)
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding 1944. The urban and rural districts of the whole of the West Riding after the revisions of 1935.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Sheffield. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Areas of Sheffield. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.