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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
embroidery, photograph1988.267 Social History 1914-1916435
Monument to the Corn Law Rhymer1973.478(6) Social History 1880-1899440
photograph frame2013.82 Social History 1916-1918440
mat2013.115 Social History 1920-1940440
mat2013.129 Social History 1920-1940440
lunchbox1984.23 Social History 1870-1926440
postcard1974.995.4 Social History 1917440
Pinstone Street, Sheffield1999.231a Social History 1897440
postcard1978.50a Social History 1914-1918440
postcard1978.50b Social History 1914-1918440
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