TheUniversity of Sheffield developed from three local institutions: the Sheffield School of Medicine, Firth College and the Sheffield Technical School. Of the three, the School of Medicine was by far the oldest, being founded in 1828. Its early history was very insecure and it was saved from collapse by the opening of Firth College, which took over the teaching of all basic science subjects to medical students.
Firth College was one of a group of university colleges founded during thelatter part of the 19th century. It developed out of the Cambridge University Extension Movement, a scheme designed to bring university teaching to the large towns and cities of England, the majority of which lacked any provisionof this kind. The success of these courses in Sheffield led Mark Firth, a local steel manufacturer, to establish the College in 1879 as a centre for the teaching of Arts and Science subjects.
The Sheffield Technical School was the product of local concern about the need for better technical training of the men responsible for running the great industries of Sheffield, particularly the manufacture of steel. Amovement was started within Firth College to collect funds for the creation of a technical department, which was established in 1884 as the Sheffield Technical School. In 1886 the School moved to new premises on the site ofthe old Grammar School at St George’s Square.
In 1897, the three institutions were amalgamated by Royal Charter to formthe University College of Sheffield. This step was part of the plan to link up with the Victoria University, a federation of the University Colleges at Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. By 1900, however, the Federal University was disintegrating and within the space of a few years independent universities were formed from the three University Colleges. On 31 May 1905 the University of Sheffield came into being on the grant of its Royal Charter, and in July the new Firth Court Building on Western Bank was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. St George’s Square remained the centre of Applied Science departments, with Arts, Medicineand Science being housed at Western Bank.
The mile-long ‘campus’ now stretches almost unbroken from Mappin Street into Crookesmoor, with student residences concentrated in suburbs to the west of the University. The full-time student population now numbers 16,400,with a further 4,000 students studying part-time.
The history of Sheffield Hallam University stretches back to the early years ofQueen Victoria´s reign. Its roots are in the best traditions of centuries of Sheffield craftsmanship – traditions of innovation, creativity and pride in a job well done. In 1843, as the industrial revolution gathered pace and Sheffield was on the verge of becoming the steel, tool and cutlery making capital of the world, Sheffield School of Design was founded.
After a distinguished history as one of Britain´s top schools of art and design for more than a century, it became one of the colleges thatmerged with the city’s College of Technology to form Sheffield Polytechnic in 1969. In 1976 the Polytechnic was renamed Sheffield City Polytechnic when it absorbed the city’s two teacher training colleges -one of which was itself founded back in 1902. Finally, in 1992, the City Polytechnic earned the right to the title ofuniversity and to degree-awarding powers – recognition that it had already achieved the necessary status – and became Sheffield Hallam University. With almost 24,000 students, 3,000staff and more than 400 courses to choose from, the University is the country´s sixth largest.