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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
Long Steps, Bernard Street, SheffieldK1905.59 Social History 1903244
Media File Rebuilding a Blast Furnace1988.319 Social History 1964-1965244
Interior of Doctor Corden Thompson's house, SheffieldK1934.33 Social History circa 1870244
Dam House, Crookesmoor, SheffieldK1903.36 Social History 1858244
Little London Dam, Heeley, SheffieldK1908.64 Social History circa 1857244
River Don at Wardsend, Sheffield1981.717 Social History 1875244
food mould1994.344 Social History circa 1920244
packet1992.873 Social History circa 1950244
comptometer2010.164a Social History 1946-1982244
helmet1975.355 Social History 1939-1945244
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