A montage of South Yorkshire. From top left: Sheffield city centre from Meersbrook Park, industry in Aldwarke, Rotherham, more rural Hellaby, 12th century Conisbrough Castle in Conisbrough, central Doncaster, and Barnsley.
Shown within England
|Status||Metropolitan county and
|Origin||1 April 19741
(Local Government Act 1972)
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
1,552 km2 (599 sq mi)
|Admin HQ||Barnsley (1974-1986)|
- Total (2011)
865 /km2 (2,240 /sq mi)
|No county council
South Yorkshire Joint Secretariat
|Members of Parliament|
South Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England. It has a population of 1.34 million (2011). It consists of four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. South Yorkshire was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.12
Lying on the east side of the Pennines, South Yorkshire is landlocked, and borders Derbyshire (to the west and south-west), West Yorkshire (to the north-west), North Yorkshire (to the north), the East Riding of Yorkshire (to the north-east), Lincolnshire (to the east) and Nottinghamshire (to the south-east). The Sheffield Urban Area is the ninth most populous conurbation in the UK, and dominates the western half of South Yorkshire with over half of the county's population living within it.
South Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) are now effectively unitary authority areas; however, the metropolitan county, which is some 1,552 square kilometres (599 sq mi),34 continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference.5 As a ceremonial county, South Yorkshire has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff.
South Yorkshire was created from 32 local government districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire (the administrative county and four independent county boroughs), with small areas from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Although the modern county of South Yorkshire was not created until 1974, the history of its constituent settlements and parts goes back centuries. Prehistoric remains include a Mesolithic "house" (a circle of stones in the shape of a hut-base) dating to around 8000 BC, found at Deepcar, in the northern part of Sheffield.6 Evidence of even earlier inhabitation in the wider region exists about 3 miles (4.8 km) over the county boundary at Creswell Crags in Derbyshire, where artefacts and rock art found in caves have been dated by archaeologists to the late Upper Palaeolithic period, at least 12,800 years ago.7 The region was on the frontier of the Roman Empire during the Roman period.8
The main settlements of South Yorkshire grew up around the industries of mining and steel manufacturing. The main mining industry was coal which was concentrated to the north and east of the county. There were also iron deposits which were mined in the area. The rivers running off the Pennines to the west of the county supported the steel industry that is concentrated in the city of Sheffield. The proximity of the iron and coal also made this an ideal place for steel manufacture.
Although Christian nonconformism was never as strong in South Yorkshire as in the mill towns of West Yorkshire, there are still many Methodist and Baptist churches in the area. Also, South Yorkshire has a relatively high number of followers of spiritualism. It is the only county that counts as a full region in the Spiritualists' National Union.9
The Local Government Commission for England presented draft recommendations, in December 1965, proposing a new county—York and North Midlands—roughly centred on the southern part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and northern parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The review was abolished in favour of the Royal Commission on Local Government before it was able to issue a final report.
The Royal Commission's 1969 report, known as the Redcliffe-Maud Report, proposed the removal of much of the then existing system of local government. The commission described the system of administering urban and rural districts separately as outdated, noting that urban areas provided employment and services for rural dwellers, and open countryside was used by town dwellers for recreation.10
Redcliffe-Maud's recommendations were accepted by the Labour government in February 1970.11 Although the Redcliffe-Maud Report was rejected by the Conservative government after the 1970 general election, there was a commitment to local government reform, and the need for a metropolitan county of South Yorkshire.
|Metropolitan county||Metropolitan borough||County boroughs||Non-county boroughs||Urban districts||Rural districts|
|Barnsley||Barnsley||-||Cudworth • Darfield • Darton • Dearne • Dodworth • Dodworth • Hoyland Nether • Penistone • Royston • Wombwell • Worsbrough •||Hemsworth • Penistone • Wortley|
|Doncaster||Doncaster||-||Adwick le Street • Bentley with Arksey • Conisbrough • Mexborough • Tickhill •||Doncaster • East Retford (part) • Thorne • Worksop (part)|
|Rotherham||Rotherham||-||Maltby • Swinton • Rawmarsh • Wath upon Dearne •||Kiveton Park • Rotherham •|
The Local Government Act 1972 reformed local government in England by creating a system of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties and districts throughout the country.12 The act formally established South Yorkshire on 1 April 1974, although South Yorkshire County Council (SYCC) had been running since elections in 1973.13 The leading article in The Times on the day the Local Government Act came into effect noted that the "new arrangement is a compromise which seeks to reconcile familiar geography which commands a certain amount of affection and loyalty, with the scale of operations on which modern planning methods can work effectively".14
South Yorkshire initially had a two tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and four districts providing most services.15
In 1974, as part of the South Yorkshire Structure Plan of the environment, conservation and land use, South Yorkshire County Council commissioned a public attitudes survey covering job opportunities, educational facilities, leisure opportunities, health and medical services, shopping centres and transport in the county.16
In 1986, throughout England the metropolitan county councils were abolished. The functions of the county council were devolved to the boroughs; joint-boards covering fire, police and public transport; and to other special joint arrangements.17 The joint boards continue to function and include the South Yorkshire Police Authority and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.18
The county borders Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. The metropolitan county lies largely on the carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield which have produced a rolling landscape with hills, escarpments and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of both current and former industrial activity. There are numerous mine buildings, former spoil heaps and iron and steel plants. The scenery is a mixture of built up areas, industrial land with some dereliction, and farmed open country. Ribbon developments along transport routes including canal, road and rail are prominent features of the area although some remnants of the pre industrial landscape and semi-natural vegetation still survive.19
Major rivers which cross the area are the Dearne, Rother and Don. To the east, in the Doncaster area the landscape becomes flatter as the eastward dipping carboniferous rocks of the coalfield are overlain by the lacustrine deposits of the Humberhead Levels.20 There is very little evidence of glaciation in the area as it lies largely beyond the limit of the last glaciation.
The table below outlines many of the county's settlements, and is formatted according to their metropolitan borough.
Of these settlements above, South Yorkshire has three main urban areas: the Dearne Valley which covers Barnsley and surrounding area; the Sheffield urban area which covers Sheffield, Rotherham and surrounding area; and the Doncaster urban area which covers Doncaster and surrounding area.
The South Yorkshire County Council was abolished and its districts became unitary authorities; they are the City of Sheffield, the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley and the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham.21
In 1986, throughout England the metropolitan county councils were abolished. The functions of the county council were devolved to the boroughs. In practice many functions are jointly administered by joint authorities containing representatives of the four councils. The joint authorities cover fire, police and public transport.
In the case of South Yorkshire, these authorities are:
- South Yorkshire Police Authority
- South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority
- South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
- South Yorkshire Pensions Authority
These authorities are supported by the South Yorkshire Joint Secretariat based in Barnsley. South Yorkshire is the only metropolitan county in the UK that has established a formal joint secretariat.22
As one of the least prosperous areas in Western Europe, South Yorkshire has been targeted for funding from the European Regional Development Fund. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of South Yorkshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.23
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added24||Agriculture25||Industry26||Services27|
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
- Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Sheffield
- Brodsworth Hall and Gardens
- Cannon Hall Museum, Park & Gardens, Barnsley
- Chapel of Our Lady of Rotherham Bridge ("Chapel on the Bridge"), Rotherham
- Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham
- Conisbrough Castle
- Cusworth Hall
- Doncaster Mansion House
- Elsecar Steam Railway
- Howden Moors
- Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield
- Magna Science Adventure Centre
- Meadowhall Centre, Sheffield
- Monk Bretton Priory
- Pot House Hamlet
- Sheffield Winter Gardens
- Roche Abbey
- Rother Valley Country Park
- RSPB Old Moor Wetland Centre
- Ulley Reservoir & Country park
- Wentworth Castle & Gardens, Barnsley
- Wentworth Woodhouse
- Weston Park Museum & Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
- Woodlands model village
- Worsborough Mill and Country Park
- Wortley Top Forge
- Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. "Local Government Finance Statistics England No.16". local.odpm.gov.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
- Arnold-Baker, C., Local Government Act 1972, (1973)
- dead link
- Vision of Britain - South Yorkshire area
- Office for National Statistics. "Gazetteer of the old and new geographies of the United Kingdom" (PDF). statistics.gov.uk. p. 48. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
•Office for National Statistics (17 September 2004). "Beginners' Guide to UK Geography: Metropolitan Counties and Districts". statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
•"Yorkshire and Humberside – Electoral Commission". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
- Radley, J.; Mellars, P. (1964). "A Mesolithic structure at Deepcar, Yorkshire, England and the affinities of its associated flint industry". Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 30: pp. 1–24.
- Pike, Alistair W.G.; Gilmour, Mabs; Pettitt, Paul; Jacobid, Roger; Ripoll, Sergio; Bahn, Paul; Muñoz, Francisco (2005). "Verification of the age of the Palaeolithic cave art at Creswell Crags, UK". Journal of Archaeological Science 32 (11): 1649–1655. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2005.05.002.
- Rob Cooke/University of Sheffield. "A History of Roman South Yorkshire".
- Churches and Centres Affiliated to the SNU South Yorkshire District
- Redcliffe-Maud et al. (June 1969), pp. 219–235.
- Redcliffe-Maud and Wood (1975), pp. 46–7, 56, 157.
- HMSO. Local Government Act 1972. 1972 c.70
- "British Local Election Database, 1889-2003". AHDS – Arts and Humanities data service. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
- "All change in local affairs". The Times. 1 April 1974.
- Redcliffe-Maud & Wood, B., English Local Government Reformed, (1974)
- Courtenay, G.; Field, J. (1975). South Yorkshire structure plan: public attitude survey.
- Kingdom, J., Local Government and Politics in Britain, (1991)
- South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
- "Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire Coalfield". www.countryside.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- "Humberhead Levels". www.countryside.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Vision of Britain - Components of South Yorkshire
- dead link
- "Regional Gross Value Added" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. 21 December 2005. pp. 240–253. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
- includes hunting and forestry
- includes energy and construction
- includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to South Yorkshire.|
- Images of South Yorkshire at the English Heritage Archive
- South Yorkshire on the Open Directory Project