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Known the world over as ‘The Steel City, Sheffield was famed for its industry in the heyday of the 1900s and remains a city of innovation to this day. The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield, and it is recognised as one of the UK’s top cultural destinations. There are over a thousand listed buildings and more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, given its rural location in the foothills of the Pennines within the Peak District national park, plus there’s a host of fantastic attractions to entice Sheffield’s visitors. The Sheffield Walk of Fame honours famous residents past and present in a similar way to the Hollywood version. Sheffield legends who feature on the plaques include Sean Bean, Joe Cocker, Sebastian Coe, Jessica Ennis and Michael Palin to name a few. The city also has its own zoo, two large theatres, live music venues, and number of museums and galleries such as the Weston Park Museum, Millennium Galleries, Graves Art Gallery, as well as three museums dedicated to Sheffield’s rich industrial heritage.
Speaking of which, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production (many stainless steel cutlery sets are engraved with ‘made in Sheffield’), but competition caused a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, which coincided with the collapse of coal mining in the area, and the city suffered as a result. Since then, it has grown to encompass a wider economic base, and innovations continue, with new advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques constantly being developed on the Advanced Manufacturing Park by Sheffield’s universities and other independent research organisations.
Forgemasters, founded in 1805, is the sole remaining independent steelworks in the world and dominates the north-east of the city. The company produces 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. Sheffield is also a major retail centre, home to many High Street and department stores, from John Lewis to Marks and Spencer, as well as a handful of chic designer boutiques. Sheffield’s main market was once Castle Market, built above the remains of the castle. This has since been demolished, and Sheffield Moor Market opened its doors in 2013.
Sheffield is linked to the national motorway network via the M1 and M18 motorways, while major railway routes pass through Sheffield Railway Station, namely the Midland Main Line, which connects the city to London by way of the East Midlands. High Speed 2 is a high-speed railway currently under construction, to be operational by 2033, with services to Birmingham, London, Leeds and Newcastle. There will be four trains per hour serving the station, with journey times reduced significantly. Locally, the Sheffield Supertram opened in 1994, consisting of 37 miles of track over four lines, which serves as an important connection between areas in the north-east of the city and the city centre. And when it comes to air travel, the closest international airport is Doncaster Sheffield Airport, which is around 18 miles from the centre of Sheffield.
Sheffield has two universities – the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University – which bring around 65,000 students to the city each year. There are also three main further education providers, The Sheffield College, Longley Park Sixth Form College and Chapeltown Academy, together with 137 primary schools, 26 secondary schools and 12 special needs schools.
Most of the property sales in Sheffield over the last year were semi-detached properties, which sold for an average of £188,692, while the overall average price was slightly higher at £195,168. This is a rise of 5 per cent compared to the same time the previous year.
One thing is clear… Sheffield is a sought-after place to live and work with many a story to tell. It also boasts a long sporting history, and is home to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield United Football Club. When Sheffield United takes on Sheffield Wednesday, games are known as the Steel City derby in a nod to the city’s industrial past. Sheffield has also famously hosted the World Snooker Championship from its Crucible Theatre since 1977.