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Historic map of Sheffield highlights how times have changed

A map of Sheffield as it was in 1855

A map of Sheffield as it was in 1855

How Sheffield looked more than 150 years ago is being showcased after the release of a new series of maps.

How Sheffield looked more than 150 years ago is being showcased after the release of a new series of maps.

Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping agency, has released maps showing how every area of England and Wales developed from the Victorian times through to the 1950s.

The maps, available to view and download for free on the National Library of Scotland website, include the above map of Sheffield in 1855. Sam Moorwood, senior lecturer in planning and development at Sheffield Hallam University, said it is an excellent way of seeing how the city has grown, how the road and rail network has developed and which buildings and streets still exist today.

He said: It’s a very interesting map. As a chartered surveyor I am familiar with looking at this kind of plan in order to review and research the history of specific sites – for instance, depending on the site’s previous use there could be contamination.

“When I look at a plan like this, what I see are obstacles to development, but they’re the basis around which the city is formed and the reasons behind current decisions being taken.”

A particular area of interest is The Wicker.

In 1855, the Midland Railway Station was based there, demonstrating how significant a hub it was for the city.

Mr Moorwood said: “You can see how important The Wicker was – it was a commercial area of the city back then. It looked like an important area, but the moving of the train station changed the dynamic massively.”

Another area of the city where you can see big change is Kelham Island.

With landmarks such as Kelham Works, Kelham Rolling Mills and Green Lane Works pinpointed, its industrial heritage is in full swing.

Mr Moorwood said: “It is demonstrating a lot of industrial growth at that time. There’s still some industry down there today, but now it is more cultural and trendy too, with the museum, pubs and new flats. It has gone through massive change.”

The map also indicates what was not around in 1855 – there is no sign of the Ring Road around the city; the area where the recently destroyed Ski Village stood is yet to become part of the city and Pond Forge is the steelworks which originally stood on the present site of the international sports centre which took its name.

Chris Fleet, of the NLS, said: “People find looking at these maps a fascinating experience. They can see how an area they know has changed over time.”

* See map images

 

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