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SHEFFIELD, a municipal and parliamentary borough in the West Riding of Yorkshire, next to Leeds the largest town in the county, and the chief seat of the cutlery trade in England, is situated on somewhat hilly ground in the neighbourhood of the Pennine range, on several rivers and streams, the principal of which are the Don, the Sheaf, the Porter, the Myelin, and the Loxley, and on the Midland, Great Northern, and various branch railway lines, 39 miles south of Leeds, 37 south-cast of Manchester, 172 north of London by the Midland Railway, and 162 by the Great Northern. The borough of Sheffield is coextensive with the parish, and embraces a district 10 miles in length by 3 or 4 miles in breadth. It includes the townships of Sheffield, Brightside Bierlow, Attercliffe-cum-Darnall, Nether Hallam, Heeley, Eccles- all Bierlow, and Upper Hallam, the last two districts being in great part rural, but occupied also by the southern and western suburbs of the borough. The older portions of the town are somewhat irregularly built, and in some districts densely populated, but much has been done of late years to widen and otherwise improve the streets in the central districts by the operation of an Act passed in 1875, the expense amounting in all to about £1,000,000. The suburbs contain a large number of beautiful terraces and mansions, picturesquely situated in the neighbourhood of fine natural scenery. A considerable portion of them is occupied by workmen's cottages, •many of which are surrounded by well-kept gardens.
Sheffield in 1845 was divided into twenty-five parochial districts, which have been gradually added to in successive years, and in 1855 it was constituted a deanery. The only ecclesiastical building of special interest is the old parish church of St Peter, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, originally cruciform, but by various additions now rectangular. The old Norman building is supposed to have been burned down during the wars of Edward III. with the barons, and the most ancient part of the present structure is the tower, dating from the 14th century. The church has lately been restored at the cost of about £20,000. It contains a large number of interesting mural monuments.
The free grammar school was founded in 1603 through a bequest of Thomas Smith, a native of Sheffield, practising as an attorney at Crowland, Lincolnshire, and it received the sanction of King James I. in 1604, with the title " The Free Grammar School of King James of England." The grammar school building of stone in the Tudor style, erected in 1824, is now (1886) used as a technical school, the grammar school trustees having purchased the collegiate school at Broomhall Park. The other principal educational institutions are the free writ ing school (1715, rebuilt in 1827), the boys' charity school (founded 1706), the girls' charity school (1786), the Roman Catholic reformatory (1861), the Church of England educational institute, the Firth College, erected by Mark Firth at a cost of £20,000, for lectures and classes in connexion with the extension of university education, the Wesley College, associated with London University, Ranmoor College, for training young men for the ministry in the Methodist New Connexion, the mechanics' institute, the school of art, and the St George's Museum, founded by Mr Ruskin, and including a picture gallery, a library, and a mineral, a natural history, and a botanical collection, the special purpose of the institution being the training of art students. The school board was first elected in 1870, and carries on its operations with great energy and success.
The principal public buildings are the town-hall, including the police offices and rooms for the quarter sessions and other courts, erected in _ _ over £10,000 ; the council ball and municipal buildings, originally used for the mechanics' institute, but purchased by the corporation in 1864 ; the cutlers' hall, built in 1832 at a cost of £6500, and enlarged in 1857 by the addition of a magnificent banqueting hall, erected at a cost of £9000 ; the general post office, in the Doric style, opened in 1874 ; the fine new corn exchange, in the Tudor style, erected at a cost of £60,000; the Albert Hall, opened in 1873 by a joint-stock company for concerts and public meetings ; the music hall, erected in 1823 ; the freemasons' hall, opened in 1877 ; the temperance halls, 1856 ; the Norfolk market hall, opened in 1857 at a cost of £40,000; the theatre royal, originally erected in 1793, rebuilt in 1880 at a cost of £8000; the Alexandra theatre, erected 1836-7 at a cost of £8000 ; the barracks, having accommodation for a cavalry and an infantry regiment and surrounded by grounds 25 acres in extent ; and the volunteer artillery drill hall, erected at a cost of £9000. The literary and social institutions include the Athenaeum, established in 1847, with a newsroom and library ; the literary and philosophical society, 1822 ; the Sheffield club, 1862 ; the Sheffield library, commenced in 1777, and con- taining 80,000 volumes; and the free library, founded in 1856, with various branches opened in subsequent years. Among the medical or benevolent institutions may be mentioned the general infirmary, opened in 1797, and successively enlarged and improved as requirements de- manded ; the public hospital, erected in 1858 (in connexion with the Sheffield medical school established in 1792) and extended in 1869 ; the hospital for women, originally estab- lished in 1864, but transferred in 1878 to a new building erected at the expense of Thomas Jessop, and now called the Jessop hospital for women ; the hospital for diseases of the skin, 1880 ; the ear and throat hospital, 1880 ; the fever hospital, erected by the Town Council at a cost of about £25,000 ; the school and manufactory for the blind, 1879 ; the South Yorkshire lunatic asylum, 1872 ; the Shrewsbury hospital for twenty men and twenty women, originally founded by the seventh earl of Shrewsbury, who died in 1616, but since greatly enlarged by successive benefactions ; the Hollis hospital, established in 1700 for widows of cutlers, Sze.; the Firth almshouses, erected endowed in 1869 by Mark Firth of Oakbrook at, a cost of £30,000; the licensed victuallers' asylum, 1878; the Deakin institution, 1849 ; Hanby's charity, 1766 ; and Hadfield's charity, 1860.
The public monuments are neither numerous nor im- portant, the principal being the Montgomery statue, erected to James Montgomery the poet in 1861, chiefly by the Sunday school teachers of the town, the Ebenezer Elliot monument, erected in the market-place in 1854, and removed to Weston Park in 1875, the column to Godfrey Sykes the artist, erected in Weston Park in 1871, the cholera monument 1834-5, and the Crimean monument to the natives of Sheffield who died in the Crimean "War.
The town is comparatively well supplied with parks and public gardens. In three of the more populous dis- tricts the duke of Norfolk, lord of the manor, presented plots of ground amounting in all to 26 acres, to be used as recreation grounds. In the western suburbs is the Weston Park and Museum, occupying the grounds and prince and princess of Wales taking place 16th August his property. The botanical gardens, 18 acres in extent, small charge. The Bramall Lane cricket ground is the scene of most of the Yorkshire county cricket matches.
The prosperity of SheLield is chiefly dependent on the manufacture of steel and the application of it to its various uses. The smelting of iron in the district is supposed to date from Roman times, and there is distinct proof carrying it back as far as the Norman Conquest. The town had become famed for its cutlery by the 14th century, as is shown by allnsions in Chaucer. There was an important trade carried on in knives in the reign of Elizabeth, and the Cutlers' Company was incorporated in 1624. In early times cutlery was made of blister or bar steel ; afterwards shear steel was introduced for the same purpose ; but in 1740 Benjamin Huntsman of Handsworth introduced the manufacture of cast steel, and up to the present time Sheffield retains its supremacy in steel manufacture, notwithstanding foreign competition, especially that of Germany and the United States, its trade in heavy steel ,having kept pace with that in the other branches. It was with the aid of Sheffield capital that Henry Bessemer founded his pioneer works to develop the manufacture of his invention, and a large quantity of Bessemer steel is still made in Sheffield. The heavy branch of the steel manufacture includes armour plates, rails, tyres, axles, large castings for engines, steel shot, and steel for rifles. The cutlery trade embraces almost every variety of instrument and tool, - spring and table knives, razors, scissors, surgical instruments, mathematical instruments, edge tools, saws, scythes, sickles, spades, shovels, engineering tools, hammers, vices, &c. The manufacture of engines and machinery is also largely carried on, as well as that of stoves and grates. The art of silver plating was introduced by Thomas Bolsover in 1742, and the manufacture is still of importance. Among the minor industries of the town are tanning, confectionery, cabinetmaking, bicycle-making, iron and brass founding, silver refining, and the manufacture of brushes and combs and of optical instruments. On account of various outrages perpetrated by artisans in workshops against persons obnoxious to them, a Government commission was in 1867 appointed to make inquiries, the result being the exposure and suppression of confederacies in connexion with various workmen's unions.
The town trust for the administration of property belonging to the town dates from the 14th century, and in 1681 the number and manner of election of the "town trustees" was definitely settled by a decree of the Court of Chancery. Additional powers were conferred on the trustees by an Act passed in 1874. The annual income of the trust property now amounts to about £5000. Sheffield obtained municipal government in 1843, and is divided into nine wards. The number of aldermen is sixteen. Since 1864 the town council have had control of the police, of the maintenance of the streets, and of the drainage and sanitary arrangements, but the supplies of water and gas are in the hands of private companies. The markets belong to the duke of Norfolk, lord of the manor. The town first returned members to parliament in 1832. In 1885 the representation was increased from two to five members, the parliamentary divisions being Attereliffe, Brightside, Central, Ecclesall, and Hallam. The area of the municipal and parliamentary borough is 19,651 acres. From 45,755 in 1801 the population had increased by 1841 to 110,891, by 1871 to 239,947, and by 1881 to 284,503 (141,298 males, 143,210 females).
Sheffield was the capital of Hallamshire from the Norman Conquest, and it is supposed that the " aula " of the Saxon Lord Waltheof mentioned in Domesday was on the Castle Hill. After the execution of Waltheof for a conspiracy against the Conqueror in 1075 the manor for some time remained in the bands of his countess, but in 1080 was possessed by Roger de Busli. Afterwards it passed to the De Lovetots, barons of Huntingdonshire, one of whom had a castle at Sheffield. A number of people, workers in iron, gathered round the castle and formed the nucleus of the town. Through an heiress of the Do Lovetots it passed in the reign of Richard I. to the De Furnivals, one of whom, Thomas de Furnival, strengthened and completed the castle, and obtained from Edward I. a charter under the great seal for a market and annual fair. After the extinction of the male line of the Furnivals in 1406, the manor passed to the Talbots, of whom John, referred to in Shakespeare's Henry VI., was created cad of Shrewsbury in 1442. Cardinal Wolsey, during his disgrace, was for some time placed in Sheffield Castle under the charge of George, fourth earl of Shrewsbury ; and Queen Mary remained a prisoner in it under the care of George, sixth earl, from the autumn of 1570 to the autumn of 1584. During the Civil Wars the castle was seized in 1642 by the Parliamentary party, who garrisoned it and threw up entrenchments round the town, but after the capture of Rotherham in April 1643 they, on the approach of the earl of Newcastle, left it in panic and fled to Derbyshire. It was, however, recaptured by the party in the following year, and was subsequently demolished. In 1654 the estate passed by marriage to the Howards, dukes of Norfolk.
See Hunter's Hallamshire, 1819, new ed. by' A. Catty, 1869 ; Leader, Sheffield Castle and Mary Queen of Scots, 1869 ; Gatty, Sheffield Past and Present, 1873 ; W. de Gray Birch, Original Documents relating to Sheffield, 1879 ; Leader, Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, 1875; Taylor, Pictorial Guide to Sheffield, 1879.