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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 NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundSorted AscendingTimes Viewed
board game1990.313 Social History circa 1970419
handkerchief holder2013.114 Social History 1920-1940419
handkerchief2013.161 Social History 1920-1958419
handkerchief2013.162 Social History 1920-1958419
keg1984.82a Social History 1920 - 1957419
case2017.210 Social History 1984-1985419
postcard1979.1103 Social History 1900-1920419
Pinstone Street, Sheffield1999.231a Social History 1897419
HIV + AIDS take it easy2005.128l Social History 2000-2005419
tin2012.295 Social History 1925-1935419
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