Sheffield Lives: the birth of a city


Sheffield Lives is a walking app around Sheffield’s historic core. It takes users on a chronological journey from the arrival of Mary, Queen of Scots at Sheffield in 1570, to the demolition of the castle in 1649. Through the walk’s twelve stops, users will be introduced to key figures from Sheffield’s past including:

-George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, jailor of Mary, Queen of Scots, and husband to Bess of Hardwick

-Kellam Homer, the town’s armorer and the man after whom Kelham Island is named

-Widow Revell, who operated the town’s mills during the period of the Civil War

Why create the app?

Sheffield is often seen as an industrial city that developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, its roots go back far deeper; even in the early 17th-century the castle was described as being ‘half-choked with town smoke’ and, during the 16th century Sheffield Castle was one of the largest castles in the North of England and home to one of its wealthiest men. The aim of the app is to highlight how the 16th and 17th centuries laid the foundations of the city we see today through the establishment of key institutions such as Cutlers’ Hall and the contribution of Sheffield residents to these. At each stop along the 2.75 mile route, users will be able to read about the role that location played in the development of Sheffield and will also be introduced to a real Sheffield Life through the use of an audio clip. Including audio, the whole tour should take around 2 hours, although users do not have to undertake it all in one go.

Download the app

The app is delivered by the University of Sheffield working in partnership with Llama Digital, a local Sheffield media company who have developed the Situate app, available on both android and smartphone. For full instructions on how to download the app see here:

PLEASE NOTE: For people without access to a smartphone, a reduced paper version of the trail is available to download here

App background

This app has been developed by Dr Rachel Askew and has been funded through an AHRC Community Engagement Fellowship. It is part of a wider collaboration between the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and community partners such as the Friends of Sheffield Castle to highlight the importance of Castlegate’s heritage and ensure the area’s legacy for future generations.

18th century streets

1771 Fairbank castle

Hall Ponds 1800-1850

19th Century house

Sheffield Lives phone image