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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
Sorted AscendingName of ObjectAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
bible2008.372 Social History 1864-18654241
bicycleL1931.85 Social History circa 187022166
bicycleL1934.5 Social History 188922621
blouse2013.117 Social History 1920-19303149
bolero2013.100 Social History 1915
bomb2007.591 Social History 194020495
Scraps of Paper... German proclamations in Belgium and France1976.1081 Social History 19162834
booklet2000.181d Social History 2000311
The University of Sheffield Union of Students. A guide to the services, facilities and activities of the LGB Committee.2000.181e Social History 2000310
booklet1999.194.21 Social History 1960-19612366
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