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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
death mask1992.1127 Social History 1864272
Long Steps, Bernard Street, SheffieldK1905.59 Social History 1903306
Media File Rebuilding a Blast Furnace1988.319 Social History 1964-1965306
Little London Dam, Heeley, SheffieldK1908.64 Social History circa 1857306
River Sheaf and Shrewsbury Hospital, Sheffield.K1930.30 Social History circa 1825306
spoon2010.43 Social History 1902306
helmet1975.355 Social History 1939-1945306
dress- bodice, skirt1984.334 Social History 1880-1900306
hat1992.1221 Social History 1890-1896306
knuckle duster2014.136.1 Social History 1920-1929306
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