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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
Sorted AscendingName of ObjectAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
accordion, box1992.488 Social History 1880-190012305
animal collar2007.900 Social History 186467391
artificial leg, box1981.989 Social History 19197438
ash tray1998.248 Social History 195034276
attendance board1978.609 Social History circa 19007011
badge1989.1771 Social History circa 193526296
badge2002.37 Social History 19666862
basket1989.590 Social History 1850-18647059
bassoonJ1955.7p Social History after 183020866
bellJ1942.2 Social History before 188822508
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