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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 NumberSorted AscendingCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
teddy bear1989.522 Social History circa 1910787
house, furniture, car1995.246 Social History 1962495
scooter2002.331 Social History 1948600
cricket ball, trophy1999.250 Social History 1826449
shoe1985.514 Social History 1900-19381071
string2005.3 Social History 189743
toilet rollZ468.2 Social History 19852208
fancy dress costume2013.146 Social History 1920-1930314
teddy bear1981.920 Social History 19074069
doll1985.146 Social History 19233594
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