Did you know?

Sheffield is a bit of a workaholic of a city. It's all about production, about creating ideas and products that have changed the world. Here are some things you might not know about our city.

We reinvented social housing

As ideas go, they rarely come bigger than Park Hill. Rebuilding the city after the war, municipal politicians and local planners decided to change the lives of thousands of working people, lifting them out of their slums and up into utopian, concrete 'streets in the sky'. TV crews from all over the world came to see them.

Today, after 50 years of changing politics and problems, Park Hill is the only survivor. It's most recent reincarnation, by Urban Splash, has started to win awards all over again.

Graphitti on a brifge

We made the Brooklyn Bridge

Steel is so integral to Sheffield's self-image, it sometimes seems to be all the city talks about. But there's a reason for this. For two hundred years, Sheffield has forged, shaped and defined one of the most important materials in the modern world. For instance: the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, is entirely made of Sheffield Steel.

Imagine if your city was associated with an invention like glass, or medicine, or the wheel. You'd want to talk about it, too.

Graphic of the Brooklyn Bridge

David Mellor revolutionised the way we eat, sit - and cross the road

David Mellor, one of the city's most famous sons, produced useful, simple, beautiful products for everyone to use. Not just iconic knives and forks, but cups, chairs, lights and bins. And the next time you're stuck at the traffic lights, take a closer look: he designed those, too.

His son Corin took up the mantle, becoming creative director of David Mellor Design and becoming one of our honorary doctors in 2013.

Illustration of David Mellor

Electro changed the face of pop

At the start of the 1970s, Sheffield was really still just an industrial powerhouse. But then something strange started to happen. All those bangs and clangs and thuds suddenly took a new form: music.

First, Cabaret Voltaire recorded these noises, cut them up, and recycled them into a new industrial sound. Then, in 1981, bands like the Human League, ABC and Heaven 17 took that sound, put gold suits on, and pretended they were in the sexiest city on Earth. Sheffield music took the world by storm.

Football was invented here

Sheffield invented Association Football. The oldest surviving football club in the world, Sheffield FC, was established in October 1857, while the rules that were played here went on to form the basis of the game nationally, and internationally.

So yes, this city invented the world's most popular game. Planet Earth: you're welcome.

Illustration of a footballer holding a ball

We push the boundaries of music - again

When it comes to music, Sheffield wasn't content with just doing it once. After the electro eyeliner had worn off and the 1980s glamour had faded, the sounds mutated again, into bleeps.

In clubs, above pubs, and in the front rooms of houses, something sparse and futuristic started to happen. Warp Records was formed, releasing groundbreaking music by the likes of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Boards of Canada. Dance music became intelligent.

Caberet Voltaire album cover

We're an ale connoisseur's paradise

There's something in the water here. Once, the steel valleys were full of pubs, to quench the thirst of the workers. Today, it's the pubs themselves that are more likely to be doing the producing, creating award winning craft beer.

With new microbreweries opening all the time, the reputation of Sheffield's newest product is spreading: the New York Times recently named Sheffield as 'Britain's best beer city' in its top 52 places to go in 2014.

We're in your next favourite film

Next time you're at the cinema watching the latest must-see film, take a look again at the streets, parks and hills in the background. Thanks to Warp Films, run by our graduate Mark Herbert, Sheffield stars in many of the most acclaimed British films of the last decade.

This is England, Four Lions and Kill List were all filmed here. And our city doubled as 1970s Belfast in '71, which won the Best Director award at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards.

Warp Films logo
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