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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 DescendingDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Sheffield Gayphone2005.128g Social History 2005291
Christmas Eve 1932. First night of the pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield2004.91 Social History 2003-20042466
More Than Just Friends2005.128j Social History 2003291
LGB Awareness Week 2000. Friends of Dorothy's Gay Union Week2000.181c Social History 2000290
booklet2000.181d Social History 2000290
The University of Sheffield Union of Students. A guide to the services, facilities and activities of the LGB Committee.2000.181e Social History 2000291
Still Real2005.128f.1 Social History 2000-2005290
t-shirt2007.135 Social History circa 19953839
ticket, leaflet, newspaper1994.76 Social History 19945641
dance costume2009.187 Social History around 19931683
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