Top 10 Most Interesting Facts About Sheffield

Sheffield's long and rich history has made it one of the most interesting cities in the UK. From its sports history to its role in creating some of the best and biggest music talents, Sheffield is a city with many secrets. Take a look at some of the most interesting and bizarre facts about the Steel City:

1. The deadliest flood in UK history took place in Sheffield


The Great Sheffield Flood took place in 1864 when the Dale Dike Reservoir broke, causing massive damage and killing 244 people. The flood was caused by a crack in the reservoir which ultimately allowed nearly 3 million cubic metres of water into the city. Although the centre of the city escaped significant damage, certain areas such as the Wicker district were completely demolished. Thankfully however, the incident caused a revolution in dam engineering practice preventing similar incidents from happening elsewhere.

2. Stainless steel was invented in Sheffield


In the years leading up to World War I, there was increasing demand for steel due to wartime arms production. However, erosion and rust on guns and rifles caused major problems. In 1915, a Sheffield man Harry Brearley, announced that he had invented a so-called "non-rusting" steel that did not stain however long it was used and whatever materials it came into contact with. It later became known as Stainless Steel, revolutionising the steel industry and Sheffield's steel production. 

3. The Sheffield Blitz left many unexploded bombs around the city


In December 1940, the German Luftwaffe conducted massive raids on the city intending to destroy the country's wartime arms production. During this 3-day period, about 600 people were killed, about as many injured and thousands of properties damaged. However, many bombs that were dropped on the city did not explode and remain left buried and undetected in various parts of the city even today. 

4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked in Sheffield as a doctor


The creator of Sherlock Holmes came to Sheffield in 1878 to work as a doctor's assistant on Spital Hill. He was allegedly a very lousy doctor, but his time in Sheffield was successful as he is reported to have taken inspiration from his time living here for his later work "The Hound of the Baskervilles." 

5. Sheffield holds a Guinness world record


On Shrove Tuesday in 2012, the University of Sheffield held a huge pancake flipping event called The Big Flip. A big crowd of students, staff and Sheffield locals participated in the pancake flip off to celebrate the tradition of consuming pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. In the end, the crowd of 890 people ended up breaking the existing record of the largest number of people flipping pancakes non-stop for 30 seconds, beating a group of people in Almere, in the Netherlands. 

6. The World Snooker Championship is held in Sheffield each year


The most prestigious competition in snooker has been held in Sheffield's Crucible Theatre each year since 1977. For several weeks each year, Sheffield becomes the premier destination in the world when it comes to snooker.

7. Spence Broughton's body was left rotting for 36 years


Spence Broughton, a famous English highwayman, robbed the Sheffield mail in early 1791. He was tried for the robbery and sentenced to hanging in Attercliffe Common, inclose proximity to where he committed the crime. The judge intended it as a form of deterrence, warning criminals not to repeat similar crimes in the future. However, not only was Spence Broughton hanged, but his body was reportedly left rotting on a gibbet for 36 years, attracting thousands of curious visitors over the years. 

8. The Clash's first gig took place in Sheffield


On July 4 1976, The Clash played their debut gig at Sheffield's Black Swan pub as an opening for The Sex Pistols. Although the gig was reportedly a disaster and the band waited another month before they had a live performance, the Black Swan will forever remain the band's first official set. 

9. Sheffield has a haunted pub


Carbrook Hall is a historic building located in Attercliffe that was originally built in the 12th century. The house was demolished and rebuilt several times so parts of what stands now was built around 1620. Its long and rich history as a public house has made it one of the prime locations for grisly stories and events. Nowadays, if you visit the pub, you can supposedly see a disappearing man drinking a pint at the bar, ghosts making circles in the pool room and even hear the sound of children's footsteps.

10. Sheffield FC is the oldest football club in the world


Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC is currently the oldest club now playing association football. It was founded by a group of cricket players who wanted to organise informal matches without official rules. However, in spite of the city's 150+ year history, it now plays in one of the two second-tier divisions of the Northern Premier League.

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