A city’s religion accents and is accented by the interaction of its topography, its economy, its culture and its politics. Sheffield’s topography, economy, culture and politics are distinctive. Here is a place which had been in the second rank of British towns since the early eighteenth century and has been in the first rank of British cities since the mid-nineteenth century and yet it has at no point been a regional capital and it is hard even to see it as a centre. It was incorporated only in 1843 and became a city only in 1893. Until the 1980s it was demonstrably Britain’s largest industrial city, unusually dependent on one cluster of trades, the metal trades. Their structure, however, was a strange mix of giant firms in the ‘heavy’ metal and small firms in the ‘light’ trades. That mix balanced (or unbalanced) Sheffield’s economy from the 1840s to the 1950s. Suggestive correlations can be drawn between human relationships within those trades and a politics whose Liberal, Conservative and Labour aspects have all been distinctive. Similar correlations might be made with the city’s culture. Sheffield might not spring to mind for music, art or literature, but it has been locally influential (which is not necessarily the same as parochial) in all three. Sheffield’s culture may be qualitatively elusive but it is satisfyingly complex.1