10 fascinating facts about Sheffield that you likely never knew

People around the world know Sheffield has a centuries-old history of steelmaking and the place was built on seven hills – but there is a mine of facts that even longstanding city residents might be unaware of.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 1:16 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 1:17 pm
Ten fascinating facts about Sheffield that you likely never knew.
Ten fascinating facts about Sheffield that you likely never knew.

From the location of Tina Turner’s last concert to unrealised plans for a monorail and the fate of the most opulent theatre outside London, here are 10 gems from the archives.

This is High Stones, on Howden Moor - while there are some very steep hills locally, the spot to the west of the city is the highest point within the boundaries of Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
Tina Turner's 50th anniversary tour finished at what is now the FlyDSA Arena on May 5, 2009 - this turned out to be her last live concert. Turner has now retired from performing.

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In 1878 Arthur Conan Doyle came to Sheffield to work as an assistant to Dr Charles Sydney Richardson on Spital Hill, Burngreave. The surgery was in the building on the corner of Spital Hill and Hallcar Street.
A £10 million, nine-station monorail system was proposed in Sheffield in 1973. Driverless carriages would take passengers along two miles of electrified tracks from the Midland railway station, above the Hole In The Road, and up to Fargate before hooking past the Town Hall and descending down The Moor. Sheffield was to pilot a Government scheme for monorail networks in big places. However, criticism grew and the idea was quietly dropped.
Sheffield Cathedral could have had two spires, a massive nave stretching to Church Street and a completely new north side - if World War Two hadn’t got in the way. Ambitious plans were delayed during the conflict then scaled back in the post-war era for cost reasons.
Highwayman Spence Broughton committed a robbery in Sheffield in 1791 - after being caught and convicted, he was executed and his body was left to hang in chains on Attercliffe Common for 36 years. People flocked to see his remains.
The Grand Henry Willis III Organ at Sheffield City Hall has 4,037 pipes and 75 stops, making it the biggest instrument of its kind in the city.
The Totley Tunnel - seen here in 1973 - is the fourth-longest mainline railway tunnel in the UK, extending for three-and-a-half miles. It runs between Totley and Grindleford. It opened in 1893.
They might look like mere bollards - but these six metre-high pieces of stone are actually a work of public art called the Ali Babas. They were carved by Victoria Brailsford into shapes reminiscent of baskets.
The Surrey Theatre, on West Bar, was built in 1851 and was said to be the finest venue outside London, complete with an underground museum, upper ballroom and marble statues. However, just 14 years after it opened it was destroyed by a fire. A play that reproduced the Great Fire of London - complete with a real on-stage blaze - went wrong. After a performance on March 25, crews failed to damp the theatre down and the flames reignited.