Why Sheffield’s Steel City Legacy Makes It Ideal For Business

appropriate accommodation available

Sheffield is a city of rapid development built on a solid historical foundation, which has made it in recent years rise in prominence as a business and entertainment hub, with appropriate accommodation available to match its ambitions.

However, unlike other cities that have undergone considerable regeneration, Sheffield’s evolution has been fundamentally shaped by its historical importance and the legacy of its reputation as the Steel City.

Whilst the name is credited to Henry Bessemer, the man who developed one of the earliest efficient processes for producing steel and due to basing his works in Sheffield made it a central hub of steel production for decades, the connection between steel and Sheffield is much older than this.

The first reference to this is a somewhat subtle reference to Sheffield cutlery in Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, where a miller is described as having a “Sheffield whittle” in his hosiery.

This reputation would only grow by the 17th century, as it became the centre of cutlery manufacture, and the development of the crucible steel process allowed for stronger, higher-quality steel to be made in larger quantities than had been previously possible.

Much like Henry Bessemer would a century later, crucible steel’s inventor Benjamin Huntsman would open a plant in Sheffield, although somewhat ironically it would not be used by local cutlery makers until decades later once its quality was made abundantly clear.

By the 19th century, half of Europe’s total production of steel would be made in Sheffield, and once the Bessemer Process was established as well, the following boom would make the new city one of the most important producers of steel in the world throughout the 19th century.

The Bessemer Boom and the Steel City were credited with the rapid developments of the Industrial Revolution and particularly the development of British and international railways. 

The American railroad network relied heavily on Sheffield steel, using three times as much imported metal as the country produced in 1871.

This continued with the development of stainless steel in the early 20th century and the legacy of the steelmaking business is a huge reason why Sheffield is the business hub it is today.

Leave a comment