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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
tin2012.304 Social History 1925-1935305
Illuminated car for Royal visit, Sheffield1970.404a Social History 1905307
postcard, photograph1977.717 Social History 1914-1918307
Mappin Art Gallery, Weston Park, Sheffield1971.783p Social History circa 1910307
memorial2009.182 Social History 1864307
embroidery, photograph1988.267 Social History 1914-1916307
Museum Entrance and Fountain1973.478(3) Social History 1880-1899307
model2002.5 Social History 1990307
Sheffield Gayphone2005.128g Social History 2005307
photograph1972.540g Social History 1915-1918307
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