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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 1864150
light bulb2002.67 Social History 1940-1950275
hair ornament2011.145a Social History 1974275
purse2010.239 Social History 1923275
recipe2007.602 Social History 1852275
money box1988.290 Social History 1930s275
recipe book2000.45 Social History 1935-1936275
ornament2010.219 Social History 1930-1969275
dog-tag1999.237 Social History 1939-1945275
pork pie block1988.346 Social History 1900-1980275
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