South Yorkshire is a ceremonial and metropolitan county governed as a combined authority in north-central England. It had a population of 1.34 million in 2011 and has an area of 1,552 square kilometres (599 sq mi). The county consists of four metropolitan boroughs—the City of Sheffield and the boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham—collectively administered by a directly-elected mayor.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Established||1 April 1974|
|Established by||Local Government Act 1972|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)|
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Police||South Yorkshire Police|
|Lord Lieutenant||Andrew Coombe|
|High Sheriff||Mrs Carole O'Neill (2020–21)|
|Area||1,552 km2 (599 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||38th of 48|
|Population (mid-2019 est.)||1,402,918|
|• Ranked||10th of 48|
|Density||904/km2 (2,340/sq mi)|
South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority
Oliver Coppard (L)
|Joint committees||South Yorkshire Joint Secretariat|
Districts of South Yorkshire
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 largest settlement is Sheffield, its built-up area is the tenth most populous in the United Kingdom. With over half of the county's population living within the built-up area, it dominates the county's western half.
South Yorkshire was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972. It 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. South Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986 and its metropolitan boroughs effectively becoming unitary authorities, although the metropolitan county continues to exist in law.
As a ceremonial county, South Yorkshire has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. The area lies within the Sheffield City Region local enterprise partnership with Barnsley also being within the Leeds City Region, reflecting its geographical position midway between the cities.
In 2022, Doncaster became one of eight towns to successfully bid for city status and will be the second city (after Sheffield) in the county. This would mean the county will have two cities (Doncaster and Sheffield) and two boroughs (Barnsley and Rotherham).
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. Evidence of even earlier inhabitation in the wider region exists about 3 miles (5 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. The region was on the frontier of the Roman Empire during the Roman period.
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 Sheffield, Stocksbridge and Rotherham. 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.
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.
Redcliffe-Maud's recommendations were accepted by the Labour government in February 1970. 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 idea of 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 • Hoyland Nether • Penistone • Royston • Wombwell • Worsbrough||Hemsworth • Penistone • Wortley (part)|
|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. The act formally established South Yorkshire on 1 April 1974, although South Yorkshire County Council (SYCC) had been running since elections in 1973. 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".
South Yorkshire initially had a two tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and four districts providing most services.
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.
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. The joint boards continue to function and include the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner also oversees South Yorkshire Police.
The metropolitan county borders Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. The terrain of the county is mostly distinguished by the Pennines and its foothills which rise in the west of the county and gradually descend into the Humberhead Levels in the east of the county. Geologically, the county lies largely on the carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield in the outer Pennine fringes, producing 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. The Pennines in the west of the county are mostly inside the Peak District National Park and also contain carboniferous rocks, with the underlying geology primarily being millstone grit sandstones of the Dark Peak rising from the Yorkshire coalfield and the terrain is mostly moorland plateaus and gritstone edges. The inner Pennine fringes between the Dark Peak and Yorkshire coalfield are distinguished by many steep valleys, and a transition from uplands and rural landscape to lowlands and urban landscape towards the east of the county. 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. There is very little evidence of glaciation in the area as it lies largely beyond the limit of the last glaciation.
South Yorkshire contains green belt throughout the county, surrounding its four districts to large extents. It was first drawn up from the 1950s. The western edge of the Sheffield and Barnsley districts directly form with the boundary of the Peak District National Park.
The table below outlines many of the county's settlements, and is formatted according to their metropolitan borough.
|Metropolitan county||Metropolitan borough||Centre of administration||Other places|
|South Yorkshire||Barnsley (borough)||Barnsley (town)||Billingley, Birdwell, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Cudworth, Darfield, Darton, Dodworth, Goldthorpe, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Hoyland Nether, Royston, Penistone, Thurnscoe, Wombwell, Worsbrough|
|Doncaster (borough)||Doncaster (town)||Adwick le Street, Armthorpe, Askern, Auckley, Balby, Barnby Dun, Bawtry, Bentley, Bessacarr, Braithwell, Branton, Cantley, Carcroft, Conisbrough, Cusworth Denaby, Dunscroft, Dunsville, Edenthorpe, Edlington, Finningley, Fishlake, Hatfield, Hyde Park, Intake, Kirk Sandall, Loversall, Marr, Mexborough, Micklebring, Moorends, Scawsby, Scawthorpe, Skellow, Stainforth, Rossington, Sykehouse, Norton, Thorne, Tickhill, Wadworth, Warmsworth, Wheatley, Wheatley Hills|
|Rotherham (borough)||Rotherham (town)||Anston, Aughton, Brinsworth, Dinnington, Harthill, Kiveton Park, Maltby, Rawmarsh, Scholes, Swinton, Thorpe Hesley, Todwick, Treeton, Thurcroft, Wales, Wath-upon-Dearne, Woodsetts, Whiston|
|City of Sheffield||Sheffield City Centre||Beighton, Chapeltown, Highlane, Mosborough, Oughtibridge, Stocksbridge, Wharncliffe Side|
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 effectively 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.
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:
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.
The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority was established in 2014 to bring the leaders of the four councils that make up South Yorkshire together on a statutory basis. It is led by the directly elected Mayor of South Yorkshire.
In the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, South Yorkshire voted 62% leave and 38% remain, making it one of the most heavily Leave areas in the country.
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.
However, the county has experienced a recent growth in the services sector. In the FDI European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/23 Awards, Doncaster was ranked the best small city in Europe for investment.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added|
|Accessible open space|
|Places of Worship|
||Museum (free/not free)|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for South Yorkshire.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to South Yorkshire.|