Sheffield


Sheffield
/shef"eeld/, n.
1. a city in South Yorkshire, in N England. 559,800.
2. a city in NW Alabama, on the Tennessee River. 11,903.

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City and metropolitan borough (pop., 2001: 513,234), South Yorkshire, England.

It is situated at the foot of the Pennines. An Anglo-Saxon village that became the site of a castle and parish church early in the 12th century, it has been known for its cutlery since medieval times. By 1700 it had a monopoly of the English cutlery trade, and it remains the centre of the industry today. It developed a steel industry from the mid-19th century, and several metallurgical innovations, including the process for making stainless steel, originated there. In 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in its Norman castle (now in ruins).

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      city, Colbert county, northwestern Alabama, U.S., about 65 miles (105 km) west of Huntsville. It lies on the south bank of the Tennessee River in the Muscle Shoals region and forms, with Florence, Tuscumbia, and the city of Muscle Shoals, a four-city metropolitan area. Sheffield began as a trading post in 1815, and in 1816 Andrew Jackson (Jackson, Andrew) (later U.S. president) made speculative land purchases. The town started developing, however, only in the 1880s. After 1933 power supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) led to its further development.

      Named for Sheffield, England, the city and surrounding area manufacture aluminum products, flooring, lumber, and chemicals. The TVA has a headquarters in adjacent Muscle Shoals. Pickwick Lake, Wilson Lake, and Joe Wheeler State Park are all nearby, and Natchez Trace Parkway passes through the region to the northwest. Inc. 1885. Pop. (1990) 10,380; (2000) 9,652.

      town, city, and metropolitan borough, metropolitan county of South Yorkshire, north-central England. Sheffield lies about 160 miles (260 km) northwest of London. The city and metropolitan borough lie within the historic county of Yorkshire, except for the area around Beighton and Mosborough, which belongs to the historic county of Derbyshire. Sheffield is situated at the foot of the Pennine (Pennines) highlands at a point where four streams—the Sheaf, Porter, Rivelin, and Loxley—running in deep valleys converge to form the River Don.

      Escafeld, as the historic town of Sheffield was called at the time of Domesday Book (1086), was an Anglo-Saxon village. It became the site of a castle and a parish church built by the Norman lord William de Lovetot early in the 12th century. From medieval times the local iron ore was smelted with charcoal obtained from the nearby abundant woodlands, and smiths and cutlers used the excellent local sandstone for grindstones. During the 15th century the streams that converge on Sheffield began to be used for power for grinding and forging operations. A cutlery industry thus grew, and Sheffield emerged in the 17th century as the main provincial cutlery town and a powerful rival to London. By 1700 London, too, had been defeated, and thereafter Sheffield enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the English cutlery trade.

      Sheffield was the site of several metallurgical innovations that greatly spurred its growth. In the early 1740s Benjamin Huntsman developed the crucible process of steelmaking (steel), thereby obtaining a reliable tool steel that by 1830 had earned Sheffield recognition as the world centre of high-grade steel manufacture. About 1742 the Sheffield cutler Thomas Boulsover discovered the process of plating copper with silver by fusion, and the city became the chief production centre for articles made of Sheffield plate. Henry Bessemer's new method (1856) of making inexpensive steel in large quantities was first tested and used in a factory at Sheffield, whose heavy steel industries grew greatly as a consequence. The process for making stainless steel also originated at Sheffield, about 1912. In 1911 census returns showed that Sheffield had surpassed Leeds as the largest city in Yorkshire.

      Although its industrial base underwent some shrinkage in the late 20th century, Sheffield is still a major British producer of raw steel, cutlery, and machinery. Food processing is also important. Sheffield is sited on a hill-and-valley system of great beauty, and both the moors of the Pennines and the wooded dales of Derbyshire sweep up to the very edge of the city's residential areas. Outside the town of Sheffield the metropolitan borough includes suburban areas and open countryside, including part of Peak District National Park. Sheffield is served by modern roads and is the major shopping and cultural centre in South Yorkshire. The university is especially known for its programs in metallurgy. The town hall (1897) is a notable civic building, and both the city museum and the Graves art gallery have fine collections. Sheffield also is the home of the National Centre for Popular Music. Area city and metropolitan borough, 142 square miles (368 square km). Pop. (2001) town, 439,866; (2006 est.) city and metropolitan borough, 525,000.

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Universalium. 2010.

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