Sheffield - 'the largest village in England'


Although a big city, Sheffield is often informally known as "the largest village in England", due to a combination of topographic and demographic factors.

It is the largest city in the UK that does not form the basis of a conurbation, and its encircling ring of hills renders Sheffield somewhat geographically isolated. Also, the surrounding land, which was unsuitable for industrial use, now includes several protected green belt areas, which have contained urban spread. The city's population size is therefore reasonably stable.

It has been reported that Sheffield retains many of the essential characteristics of a small market town, and that its residents' devotion to their home city is more typical of a smaller community than a large county borough. (For example, more Sheffield residents are able to identify a "home area" within the city, and significantly more are unwilling to leave their home city, than in other large county boroughs.)

Due to its historically large proportion of people employed in manufacturing (as oppose to professional occupations), Sheffield has also been proclaimed to have far lower social polarization (i.e. it displays comparatively little variation of social groups based on income and occupation) than many other cities.

These traits have therefore earned Sheffield its nickname "the largest village in England".