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Sheffield lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life—from the Romans to the 21st century. Published online, and extended three times a year, the Oxford DNB includes more than 57,000 life stories.


Public libraries in Sheffield subscribe to the Oxford DNB, which means you can look for people either in the library or from home (or anywhere, anytime) using your library membership number as a personal log-in.


Oxford DNB login You can gain access to the Oxford DNB via Sheffield libraries’ Reference Online or the Oxford DNB online.

With access lives from Sheffield, Britain — and indeed the world — are just a click away.

  1. Sheffield lives
  2. Finding people near you
  3. Topical and local history in the Oxford DNB

1. Sheffield lives

The Oxford DNB includes more than 400 men and women with connections to Sheffield – from the Victorian industrialist Sir Frederick Mappin (1821-1910) to athlete and charity fundraiser Jane Tomlinson (1964-2007).


Jane TomlinsonIn between you’ll find many sons and daughters of the city, including John Roebuck (d.1794), ironmaster and business partner of James Watt; film pioneer James Blackton (1875-1941); the architect Alison Smithson (1928-1993), who designed some of the most original and controversial buildings in post-war Britain, including those at Sheffield University; and the comedian Jimmy Jewel (1909-1995).


You can also search across the city, allowing you to find more than 140 former pupils of Sheffield schools; 240 one-time Sheffield residents; and the 40 famous people buried in the city’s churches.


Jimmy JewelAcross the ODNB’s 66 million words, you’ll also find more than 1200 references to Sheffield, 12 to Sheffield Wednesday, and 6 to the Crucible Theatre.


It’s easy to search by place in the Oxford DNB as the following section explains.


2. Finding people near you

The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 57,000 men and women. Online you can search for where they were born, baptized, lived, died or were buried, searching by county, town, village, church, and street.


search tips Here are some tips for how to find people near you—be they one-time residents of Princes Street, Edinburgh (45), sons and daughters of Whitby (24), or those buried in Exeter (112)—and how this can be used for school projects or family history.
Text searching across the Oxford DNB’s 65 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 92 references to Clapham Common, 23 to the River Trent, and 40 to Snowdonia.

3. Topical and local history

Try a map—from British brewers, to gardeners and seafarers.


Brewers Gardeners in the Oxford DNB Seafarers

Listen to a life

Duke of Windsor Every two weeks the Oxford DNB releases a biography podcast. There are more than 100 episodes to choose from, including John Lennon, Madame Tussaud, Morecambe and Wise, Roald Dahl, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Browse the episodes by list or by place.

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Lives of the week Topical lives marking birthdays, anniversaries, and events—sent daily to your in-box.

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