65 Fun & Interesting Facts about Sheffield, England

What is Sheffield famous for? Most would say steel and football. But there’s more to Steel City than that!

Find out with these 65 captivating, educational, and fun facts about Sheffield. After some general facts, you’ll find football facts, more random facts, and finally some historical Sheffield facts.

General Sheffield Facts

  • Sheffield is a major city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, a ceremonial and metropolitan county in north-central England.
  • It is the largest city in South Yorkshire, and 2nd largest in Yorkshire, the historic county that encompasses North, South, East, and West Yorkshire, after Leeds.
  • The city is the southeastern point in a triangle formed with Leeds (to its north) and Manchester (to its west).
  • It is 269 km (167 mi) northwest of London and 145 km (90 mi) northeast of Birmingham.
  • The city sits in a natural amphitheater at the confluence of five rivers: the Don, Sheaf, Rivelin, Loxley, and Porter. (Sheffield also has an actual amphitheater, in Sheaf Valley Park).
  • The name Sheffield is derived from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city.
  • Sheffield is the 9th biggest city in England in terms of population, with a metropolitan population of around 741,000.
Sheffield Amphitheater, with the city's downtown in the background
Sheffield’s own amphitheater
  • People from Sheffield are known as “Sheffielders”.
  • Sheffield’s nickname is “Steel City”, after its steel-producing role in the Industrial Revolution.
  • During the early industrial revolution, Sheffield was one of the largest powerhouses of the United Kingdom and was popular for inventing and producing stainless steel.
  • The city is also sometimes called the “largest village in England”, due to its relative isolation, surrounded by hills.
  • The city is split into 28 wards or districts for electoral purposes.
A walkway in Peace Gardens, with the Sheffield Town Hall in the background
Peace Gardens, beside Sheffield Town Hall
  • Sheffield is antipodal to the Papatowai, Otago in New Zealand.
  • Sheffield has five sister cities: Chengdu and Anshan (China), Bochum (Germany), Donetsk (Ukraine), and Estelí (Nicaragua).  

Sheffield Football and Sports Facts

  • Sheffield F.C. is the oldest club in the history of association football. Founded on October 24, 1857, and adopting FA rules in 1878, it was founded by a group of cricket club members from the city. Today it is based on Dronfield, just outside of Sheffield.
Players on the field in a Sheffield Wednesday F.C. game
“Sheffield Wednesday game” by Ben Sutherland is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Sheffield Wednesday F.C. is the only top-tier football team in the world that has a weekday in its name. The club was names as such because the original founders all had Wednesday off work.
  • Sheffield United were the first to win the Football League in 1898, the first club to make it to the 1st division, and the first to score a goal in the Premier League.
  • Matches between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday are called Steel City Derby.
  • Sheffield is home to the oldest football stadium in the world, Bramall Lane, which was opened on April 30th, 1855. It is the home of Sheffield United, who are nicknamed “the Blades”.
  • The Sheffield suburb of Crosspool is also home to the oldest football ground in the world, Sandygate, which is home to Hallam F.C.
Exterior of Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield
Bramall Lake, home of Sheffield United, is the world’s oldest football stadiun.
  • Not a single champion has been able to defend his first title in the Crucible Theater, which is known as the “Crucible Curse”.

Other Random Interesting Facts

  • Sheffield is the only city in the UK that has part of a national park located within its boundaries, as around 33% of the city lies inside Peak District National Park.
  • Thanks to its huge national park, there are more trees than humans in the city of Sheffield. With a total of 2,000,000 trees, the ratio is actually 2.7 to 1, the highest of any city in Europe.
A creek surrounded by forest in Wyming Brook, Peak District National Park, Sheffield
Wyming Brook, a part of Peak District National Park inside Sheffield
  • There are also 250 parks and woodlands scattered across Sheffield.
  • Despite being one of the leading cities in the industrial era, Sheffield today runs on recycled energy. The city turns waste and garbage into thermal energy, which is then used to generate the electricity needed to produce hot water.
  • All the steel used in Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was imported from Sheffield. Nearly half of all scalpels and surgical blades used in the bridge’s construction were made in Sheffield, too.
Aerial view of Sheffield, with lots of greenery
Sheffield is an incredibly green city.
  • In March 1994, Sheffield set a record for longest rainbow ever, lasting six hours. They held the record for 20 years, until it was broken by Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Sheffield is the highest major city in England, with its highest point sitting at 548 m (1798 ft) above sea level.
  • Many locals claim or joke that the city is built on seven hills, just like Rome.
  • Sheffield City Hall’s organ has 4,037 pipes, making it one of the largest in the country.
Exterior of Sheffield City Hall and small fountain
Sheffield City Hall
  • Several movies have been set and shot in Sheffield, including The Full Monty, Threads, Official Secrets, and Four Lions.
  • Sheffield has a walk of fame similar to the one in Hollywood, called Sheffield Legends, near Sheffield Town Hall. The first star ever placed was in 2006 for Gordon Banks, England’s goalkeeper in the 1996 FIFA World Cup, which England won.
  • Other famous Sheffield residents honored on Sheffield Legends include singer Joe Cocker, glam metal band Def Leppard, comedian Michael Palin, and astronaut Helen Sharman.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, lived and practiced medicine in Sheffield.
A Sheffield Legends star on the sidewalk dedicated to a famous Sheffield footballer
“Sheffield Legends Plaque, Pinstone Street, Sheffield” by Terry Robinson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Historical Sheffield Facts

  • There are human traces in Sheffield going back to at least 12,800 years ago, in the Late Stone Age.
  • The earliest evidence of humans living in the city was found at the Creswell Crags to the east of Sheffield, including the northernmost cave paintings in Europe.
Some crags and a cave beside a pond at Creswell Crags, Sheffield
The prehistoric site of Creswell Crags outside of Sheffield
  • In the Iron Age, a northern Pennine tribe called the Brigantes built forts in the area.
  • In the first millennium AD, two Anglo-Saxon and Danish settlements in the area merged to become what is now Sheffield.
  • After the Norman Conquest (1066), Sheffield Castle was built at the confluence of the River Sheaf and the River Don, the heart of the old town.
  • Construction of Sheffield Cathedral began around the year 1200 (most of the current building is much newer).
  • By 1296, there was a major market near the castle, on the site which is now called Castle Square.
Exterior of Sheffield Cathedral
Sheffield Cathedral today
  • Sheffield has been in a major center for steel production since the 1300s when they produced blades. This is even mentioned in The Canterbury Tales (written 1387–1400).
  • By the late 1600s, Sheffield had become the second largest producer of cutlery after London.
  • In the mid-1700s, Sheffield plating, a method of placing a thin layer of silver on copper, was invented. This further increased the city’s role an industrial town.
  • The invention of stainless steel in the 19th century led the population of the city growing by almost 10 times in 100 years.
  • In 1832, a cholera epidemic in Sheffield took over 400 lives.
A red brick factory along the river in Sheffield
Old repurposed factories along the River Don
  • In 1843, Sheffield was incorporated as a borough, then elevated to city status by 1893.
  • The city’s first railway line, which connected it to the nearby town of Rotherham, was opened in 1838.
  • In 1864, 270 people died in the Great Sheffield Flood, when a dam wall collapsed as the reservoir was being filled for the first time. It was the deadliest flood in the history of the UK.
  • Sheffield became an official city in 1893.
  • Due to its rapid growth, crowding, and pollution, George Orwell even called Sheffield the “ugliest town in the Old World.”
Sheffield Women of Steel statue with snow on it.
“Sheffield Women of Steel” by karl101 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • In 1914, the city’s main church was granted a cathedral status, henceforth referred to as Sheffield Cathedral.
  • During WWII, Sheffield manufactured weapons and supplies. The Germans raided Sheffield in what’s known as the Sheffield Blitz, leaving many unexploded bombs. Some unexploded bombs have even been found in recent years.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, many steel mills were closed, and the city’s slums were converted to residential areas.
  • Several sporting facilities, including Sheffield Arena, Don Valley Stadium, and Ponds Forge, were built for the 1991 Universiade, which were hosted by Sheffield.
A tram car stopping at a street station in Sheffield
The Sheffield SuperTram
  • In the early 2000s, many parts of the city have been upgraded or built, including Peace Gardens, Millennium Galleries, Millennium Square, and Sheaf Square.
  • Sheffield was badly affected by the 2007 UK floods, extreme winter in 2010, and more floods in 2019.