Taking its name from the River Sheaf, the city was founded sometime after 500 AD with the merger of Saxon and Danish settlements. King Aelfwine built a castle there in the 1060s yet it remained a small market town for centuries.
The town was already noted for small-scale steel production by the 14th century and much of Anglia's cutlery production was concentrated there. As processes and techniques were automated during the Industrial Revolution large factories sprang up and the population of the city grew rapidly, outstripping Lincoln and other long-established cities. Although making many extremely wealthy the rapid growth led to the usual problems of squalid conditions, rampant disease and exploitation of workers.
These issues would fire much of the reforming zeal which gripped Anglia throughout the late 19th and early 20th century and many noted were sons and daughters of Sheffield. Slums would be razed piecemeal by social-minded factory owners and new streets laid out to house workers. Equally the lack of representation the city had at the Witenage would spur the eradication of 'rotten boroughs', an important stepping stone toward full suffrage.
Although governmental business remains in Lincoln these days Sheffield is recognised as the financial and cultural focus of Anglia. The city is said to have the highest concentration of music hall theatres and film parlours in Europe. Meanwhile the city's Royal Gallery Annex is recognised as one of the world's finest art galleries and musically, the Royal Symphonic Orchestra has its base in the city.