Like other large cities, Sheffield experienced considerable population growth during the 19th century. By 1891 the population had grown from 110,891 in 1843 to 324,291. Although the original Borough covered a large area it included considerable areas that were unsuitable for development and already the population was expanding into the surrounding districts. Facilities such as parks and cemeteries were also being built beyond the existing boundaries.

In 1888 the Council Committee as to Proposed Enlargement of the Borough was appointed and resolved ‘that in the opinion of this Committee, it is desirable that certain adjacent outlying districts should be incorporated in the Borough.'

The first boundary extension was delayed until 1900 and, as the demand for land for housing, industry and services continued to grow, there were a number of further extensions through the 20th century. Other boundary changes were also made as a result of national reviews of the local government structure. Inevitably the city's expansion sometimes threatened the viability of smaller neighbouring authorities and local pride and loss of identity were often major factors in the campaigns organised by local councils and communities against proposed extensions.

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