The Cities and Towns of Yorkshire – Part 2

The second largest city in the county is Sheffield which is situated at the confluence of the River Don and the River Sheaf. There were Celtic fortresses at Wincobank, Carl Work and Scholes Wood. This area was home to the Brigante tribe and the surrounding flood plains gave rich agricultural soils for the crops to grow on. Even in the 14th century Sheffield was mentioned in Chaucers, The Canterbury Tales for its production of knives. By the end of the 16th century it was seen as the main producer of cutlery outside of London. It was an ideal location for the steel industry due to its supplies of iron ore, coal, grinding stones and a history of knife production.

The industry of Sheffield

The city grew with the steel industry. Innovations resulted in the development of Sheffield Plate and crucible steel as the steel industry got bigger and bigger. Cutlery was not the only product produced and armament factories arrived with the Second World War. This city’s population during the 19th century rose from 60,000 in 1801 to 451,000 in 1901. This was a truly industrial city with a sky line to match. At the end of the Second World War Sheffield had many problems as much of the city had been bombed as a result of the Germans targeting the armament factories.

The subsequent decline of the local steel industry exacerbated the problems and Sheffield need to reinvigorate the local area. Today the city is comprised of 61% of its area being green space with a third of it lying within the Peak District National Park. The economy now has a far wider base with the creation of projects such as the Meadowhall Centre and the Heart of the City Project. Bradford was another city that grew massively as a result of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Its population rose from 13,000 in 1801 to 280,000 by 1901. Like Leeds it was reliant on the textile trade, particularly wool. Bradford attracted workers from all over the empire and is now a truly multi-cultural city with over a quarter of its inhabitants hailing from Asia. It has the third largest community of South Indians in the United Kingdom and Bradford has become an important centre for Asian culture and cuisine in England.

Hull port the 3rd largest in the UK

The area has however, suffered difficult times with the shutting down of many of the original textile mills. The area has some of the worst levels of social deprivation in the UK and has had to diversify its economic base. It has been predicted that the economy will be worth more than 10 billion pounds by the end of 2018 as regeneration is starting to improve things in the city. Kingston-Upon-Hull is the largest city in the east of the county with a population of 260,000. The town of Hull was originally founded in the 12th century as the monks of Meaux Abbey needed a port to export their wool.

The port was built at the confluence of the River Humber and the River Hull. Hull prospered as a result of exporting wool from the area and soon became the biggest port on the East Coast. Today the port is the third largest in the UK behind London and Liverpool. The Port became the centre for migrants leaving the country to settle in the New World and the city grew as industries associated with the port grew. After the war a lot of the city was rebuilt after much damage was caused by heavy bombing. Yorkshire is home to some of the largest cities in England, yet there are also many smaller market towns and villages where people live with the county having a wide spread of urban areas.