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IT To Go - Can support clients as far as Sheffield in South Yorkshire

Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and partly Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 534,500 (2008 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the English Core Cities Group.

During the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. Many innovations were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population during the Industrial Revolution. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1893, officially becoming the City of Sheffield. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in traditional local industries during the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.

The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield along with other British cities. Sheffield's gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £9.2 billion in 2007. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.

The City of Sheffield is built on seven hills and is near the confluence of five rivers. It is estimated that Sheffield has over two million trees, more per person than any other city in Europe; 61% of the city is green space.

Economy

After many years of decline, the Sheffield economy is going through a strong revival. The 2004 Barclays Bank Financial Planning study revealed that, in 2003, the Sheffield district of Hallam was the highest ranking area outside London for overall wealth, the proportion of people earning over £60,000 a year standing at almost 12%. A survey by Knight Frank revealed that Sheffield was the fastest-growing city outside London for office and residential space and rents during the second half of 2004. This can be seen by the current surge of redevelopments, including the City Lofts Tower and accompanying St Paul's Place, Velocity Living, and the Moor redevelopment, the forthcoming NRQ and the recently completed Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens, Millennium Galleries, and many projects under the Sheffield One redevelopment agency. The Sheffield economy grew from £5.6 billion in 1997 (1997 GVA) to £9.2 billion in 2007 (2007 GVA).

The "UK Cities Monitor 2008" placed Sheffield among the top ten "best cities to locate a business today", the city occupying 3rd and 4th places respectively for best office location and best new call centre location. The same report places Sheffield in 3rd place regarding "greenest reputation" and 2nd in terms of the availability of financial incentives.

Sheffield has an international reputation for metallurgy and steel-making. Many innovations in these fields have been made in Sheffield, for example Benjamin Huntsman discovered the crucible technique in the 1740s at his workshop in Handsworth. This process was rendered obsolete in 1856 by Henry Bessemer's invention of the Bessemer converter. Thomas Boulsover invented Sheffield Plate (silver-plated copper) in the early 18th century. Stainless steel was invented by Harry Brearley in 1912, and the work of F. B. Pickering and T. Gladman throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s was fundamental to the development of modern high-strength low-alloy steels. Further innovations continue, with new advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques being developed on the Advanced Manufacturing Park by Sheffield's universities and other independent research organisations. Organisations located on the AMP include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC, a research partnership between the Boeing Company and the University of Sheffield), Castings Technology International (Cti) and TWI (The Welding Institute).

Forgemasters, founded in 1805, is the sole remaining independent steel works in the world and dominates the north east of Sheffield around the Lower Don Valley. The firm has a global reputation for producing the largest and most complex steel forgings and castings and is certified to produce critical nuclear components, with recent projects including the Royal Navy's Astute class submarines. The firm also has the capacity for pouring the largest single ingot (570 tonnes) in Europe and is currently in the process of expanding its capabilities.

While iron and steel have long been the main industries of Sheffield, coal mining has also been a major industry, particularly in the outlying areas, and the Palace of Westminster in London was built using limestone from quarries in the nearby village of Anston. Other areas of employment include call centres, the City Council, universities and hospitals.

Sheffield is a major retail centre, and is home to many High Street and department stores as well as designer boutiques. The main shopping areas in the city centre are on The Moor precinct, Fargate, Orchard Square and the Devonshire Quarter. Department stores in the city centre include John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Atkinsons and Debenhams. Sheffield's main market is the Castle Market, built above the remains of the castle. Shopping areas outside the city centre include the Meadowhall shopping centre and retail park, Ecclesall Road, London Road, Hillsborough, Firth Park and the Crystal Peaks shopping centre. In a 2010 survey of forecast expenditure at retail centres in the United Kingdom, Meadowhall was ranked 12th and Sheffield city centre 19th.

Sheffield has a District Energy system that exploits the city's domestic waste, by incinerating it and converting the energy from it to electricity. It also provides hot water, which is distributed through over 25 miles (40 km) of pipes under the city, via two networks. These networks supply heat and hot water for many buildings throughout the city. These include not only cinemas, hospitals, shops, and offices but also universities (Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield), and residential properties. Energy generated in a waste plant produces 60 megawatts of thermal energy and up to 19 megawatts of electrical energy from 225,000 tonnes of waste.

Universities and colleges

Sheffield has two universities, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. The two combined bring about 54,000 students to the city every year. Sheffield University was established in 1897 as University College Sheffield and became the University of Sheffield in 1905. The University is now ranked 40th in the world and 20th in Europe. The university is a leading member of the Russell Group and has produced five Nobel Prize winners. Sheffield Hallam University's history goes back to 1834 with the establishment of the Sheffield School of Design. During the 1960s several independent colleges (including the School of Design) joined to become Sheffield Polytechnic (Sheffield City Polytechnic from 1976) and was finally renamed Sheffield Hallam University in 1992. Sheffield Hallam University is the eighth largest university in the UK in terms of enrolment. Robert Winston, the well known physician, politician and TV presenter, is the Chancellor of the university.

Sheffield has two further education colleges, The Sheffield College and Longley Park Sixth Form College. The Sheffield College is organised on a federal basis and was originally created from the merger of six colleges around the city, since reduced to just four: Sheffield City (formerly Castle) near the city centre, Hillsborough, serving the north of the city and Norton and Peaks to the south.

Culture and attractions

Sheffield made the shortlist for the first city to be designated UK City of Culture, but in July 2010 it was announced that Derry had been selected.

Attractions

The Sheffield Walk of Fame in the City Centre honours famous Sheffield residents past and present in a similar way to the Hollywood version. Sheffield also had its own Ferris Wheel known as the Wheel of Sheffield, located atop Fargate shopping precinct. The Wheel was dismantled in October 2010 and moved to London's Hyde Park. Heeley City Farm and Graves Park are home to Sheffield’s two farm animal collections, both of which are fully open to the public.

There are about 1,100 listed buldings in Sheffield (including the whole of the Sheffield postal district). Of these, only five are Grade I listed. Fifty-nine are Grade II*, but the overwhelming majority are listed as Grade II. Compared to other English cities, Sheffield has few buildings with the highest Grade I listing—Liverpool, for example, has 26 Grade I listed buildings. This situation led the noted architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner, writing in 1959, to comment that the city was "architecturally a miserable disappointment", with no pre-19th century buildings of any distinction. By contrast, in November 2007, Sheffield's Peace and Winter Gardens beat London's South Bank to gain the Royal Institute of British Architects' Academy of Urbanism "Great Place" Award, as an "outstanding example of how cities can be improved, to make urban spaces as attractive and accessible as possible".

Music

Sheffield has been the home of several well-known bands and musicians, with an unusually large number of synth pop and other electronic outfits originating from the city. These include The Human League, Heaven 17, ABC, and the more industrially inclined Cabaret Voltaire. This electronic tradition has continued: techno label Warp Records was a central pillar of the Yorkshire Bleeps and Bass scene of the early 1990s, and has gone on to become one of Britain's oldest and best-loved dance music labels. More recently, other popular genres of electronic music such as bassline house have originated in the city. Sheffield is home to a number of high-profile nightclubs—Gatecrasher One was one of the most popular nightclubs in the north of England until its destruction by fire on 18 June 2007.

Artists such as: Joe Cocker, Pulp, Paul Carrack, Def Leppard, Richard Hawley, The Longpigs, Milburn, Moloko, and Bring Me the Horizon, along with many other popular and alternative musicians, were born in Sheffield. More recently several indie bands, including Arctic Monkeys, The Long Blondes and Toddla T have emerged from the city as part of what the NME dubbed the New Yorkshire movement.

In 1999, the National Centre for Popular Music, a museum dedicated to the subject of popular music, was opened in the city. It was not as successful as was hoped, however, and later evolved to become a live music venue; then in February 2005, the unusual steel-covered building became the students' union for Sheffield Hallam University. Live music venues in the city include the Harley Hotel, Leadmill, West Street Live, the Boardwalk, Dove & Rainbow, The Casbah, The Cremorne, Corporation, New Barrack Tavern, The Broadfield Hotel, the City Hall, the University of Sheffield, the Studio Theatre at the Crucible Theatre, the O2 Academy Sheffield, and The Grapes.

Sheffield hosts a number of festivals, most notably the Grin Up North Sheffield Comedy Festival, and the Tramlines Festival. The Tramlines Festival was launched as an annual music festival in 2009, it is held throughout venues in Sheffield City Centre, and features local and national artists. The city is also home to several local orchestras and choirs, such as the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra, the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sheffield Chamber Orchestra, the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra, and the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus.

Theatres

Sheffield has two large theatres, the Lyceum Theatre and the Crucible Theatre, which together with the smaller Studio Theatre make up the largest theatre complex outside London, located in Tudor Square. The Crucible theatre is the home (since 1977) of the world snooker championships and hosts many well known stage productions throughout the year. The Lyceum, which opened in 1897, serves as a venue for touring West End productions and operas by Opera North, as well as locally produced shows. Sheffield also has the Montgomery Theatre, a small 420 seater theatre located a short distance from Tudor Square, opposite the town Hall on Surrey Street.

Museums

Sheffield’s museums are managed by two distinct organisations. Museums Sheffield manages the Weston Park Museum (a Grade II* listed Building), Millennum Galleries, Graves Art Gallery and Bishops House (a preserved Tudor building located to the south of the city centre). Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust manages the museums dedicated to Sheffield’s industrial heritage of which there are three. Kelham Island Museum (located just to the North of the city centre) showcases the citys history of steel manufacturing.Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet (in the south of the city) is a Grade 1 Listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Shepherd Wheel (in the south-East of the city) is a former water-powered grinding workshop, Grade II listed, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Media and film

Sheffield has two commercial newspapers, The Star and Sheffield Telegraph, both published by Johnston Press PLC. The Star has been published daily since 1897; the Sheffield Telegraph, now a weekly publication, originated in 1855.

Sheffield does not have a television station; regional broadcasters BBC Yorkshire and Yorkshire Television cover the city. Five local radio stations broadcast in the city. The professional services are BBC Radio Sheffield, the independent Hallam FM, and its sister station Magic AM. Sheffield is also home to two FM licensed community radio stations: Sheffield Live 93.2, and Burngreave Community Radio on 103.1.

HBS Radio (Hospital Broadcasting Sheffield) broadcasts a 24 hour service to the Royal Hallamshire, Jessop Wing, Northern General and Weston Park Hospitals. HBS is operated by volunteers from studios at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and is provided free to bedside terminals via Hospedia and on medium wave 1431am from a transmitter at the Northern General Hospital.

The films and plays The Full Monty, Threads, Looks and Smiles, When Saturday Comes, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, The History Boys and Four Lions are set in the city. F.I.S.T. also included several scenes filmed in Sheffield. The documentary festival Sheffield Doc/Fest has been run annually since 1994 at the Showroom Cinema, and in 2007 Sheffield hosted the Awards of the International Indian Film Academy.

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