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March 15, 2015

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Hansom cabs await outside Sheffield Cathedral in this postcard. This particular cathedral was build in 1280 and dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul and underwent radical redesigns throughout the 20th Century. The concrete lantern tower seen at the left of my photo was added in 1998.

The cutting edge of industry

Sheffield was a quiet market town for most of the 1,500 or so years of its history, renowned primarily for the fine quality of the knives and cutlery manufactured there. It was this cutting edge of knowledge and skills cultivated by the Sheffield cutlers that would form the seed of the town's rise to industrial prominence in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Sheffielders invented crucible steel, an improved process of making steel, and Sheffield Plate, a way to fuse thin sheets of steel to copper to make fine silverware. Henry Bessemer pioneered the process for making even better steel in Sheffield. In short order water-powered mills on the Rivers Sheaf and Don were churning out world-renowned steel and cutlery.

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The decaying ruins of Sheffield's industrial past are present all along the River Don. Tree roots are now tangled in the bricks of once bustling industrial enerprises. A series of weirs powered steel mills all around Attercliffe, including this one just west of Washford Bridge. The spot is now accessible through the tranquil Five Weirs Walk. This spot across the river is now apparently an auto wreckers.

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This grainy photo gives us a fascinating glimpse into the Moor's past. It's a lively street scene, where there are far more pedestrians in the street than vehicles, and the most prominent one on the right appears to be a horse-tram on rails. The most interesting parts of the photo centre stage: the fashionably dressed Victorian woman pushing a stroller across the street, while in front of her appears a young boy accompanied by his giant shaggy dog. He looks like he might be selling newspapers.

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An early photo of a dramatically different Pinstone Street. I wouldn't have been able to find the spot if they hadn't begun construction on the building on the left when the original photo was taken. On the right is Saint Paul's Church, which was demolished in 1938 after the clearing of slums in the surrounding areas had shrunk its congregation. On the centre-left we can see that the Town Hall hasn't been built yet. It would not be completed until 1897.

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A lively day in 1897 when Queen Victoria was coming to town. This is a view up Cambridge Street from the Moor. Flags, pennants and all sorts of decorations have been erected around the city centre, while everyone is out and about. In the centre the two men appear to be having a lively conversation while on the right a father is taking his smartly dressed daughter out for a day of festivities.

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A rainy day on Pinstone Street. The milk man doesn't appear perturbed by the inclement weather.

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The iconic neo-Gothic style Town Hall that was completed in 1897. On the right can be seen a statue of Queen Victoria, which was moved to Endcliffe Park in 1930.

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The Duke of York visits the Town Hall. As he is departing he looks like he is getting mobbed by a troop of eager Boy Scouts.

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A huge crowd gathers in Barker's Pool on Armistice Day. Many of the men here will be veterans of the trenches. At the same time restoration work on the City Hall is underway.




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