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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
postcard1974.995.4 Social History 1917158
postcard1979.1103 Social History 1900-1920158
photograph1994.361d.xl Social History 1940-1944158
Pinstone Street, Sheffield1999.231a Social History 1897158
postcard1978.50a Social History 1914-1918158
postcard, photograph1977.717 Social History 1914-1918159
postcard, photograph1977.714 Social History 1914-1918159
photograph1992.478a Social History 1988159
postcard1977.724 Social History 1914-1918159
Lake and Rustic Bridge1973.478(2) Social History 1880-1899159
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