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Social History

The Social History collections contain thousands of objects representing the everyday and exceptional lives of local people from around 1500 to the present. It aims to cover all aspects of the domestic and social lives of those for whom Sheffield is home.

The range of items in the collection is vast, from small personal objects to entire shop interiors. These include a 1960s hair salon, a traditional butcher’s shop and Preston’s c1900 chemists which stood on the corner of West Street and Mappin Street in Sheffield until the 1980s.

There are relics from the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars including letters, pin badges, ration books, gas masks and uniforms.

Toys, from teddy bears and dolls to card games, jigsaws, farmyards, lead animals and clockwork toys, show how children have played through the years.

Costumes, sewing machines, theatre posters and programmes, typewriters, samplers and domestic equipment are just a selection of the many items in the collection that reveal how people lived in the distant and recent past.

There are also over 1,000 topographical paintings, prints and drawings of Sheffield and the surrounding area dating from around 1750 to the present day. This collection provides a unique visual record of Sheffield’s dramatic transition from country idyll to urban sprawl.

Show Objects
Name of ObjectAccession NumberCollectionSorted AscendingDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Ointment tube1979.854 Social History 1371
St Paul's Church, SheffieldK1906.1 Social History 3953
Old House, Norfolk Street, SheffieldX1974.629 Social History 951
Grinder's HullK1923.3 Social History 3903
Men Seated Around Fire in Grinding Shop1960.28 Social History 1358
North West View of the Town of Sheffield1979.324 Social History 892
braille board, braille pricker1988.255 Social History 1419
bellJ1942.2 Social History before 188822960
bottle1992.1284 Social History 20197
certificate1995.224 Social History 19152173
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