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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 ObjectSorted AscendingAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Men Seated Around Fire in Grinding Shop1960.28 Social History 1027
fare collection box1960.85 Social History circa 18904754
Banner Cross, Sheffield, 18901963.98 Social History 18904804
sampler1966.813 Social History 18174362
bugle1970.128 Social History 1914-19183163
postcard1970.131c Social History 1914-1918724
helmet1970.133 Social History 1914-19251710
typewriter1970.57 Social History 1892-1937967
cigar case1971.753 Social History 1800-18642408
sampler1971.756 Social History circa 18406935
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