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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/FoundTimes Viewed
basket1989.590 Social History 1850-186411624
bassoonJ1955.7p Social History after 183024217
Batchelor's Peas Knitting and Recipe Leaflet No.23X1993.695a Social History 1939-1945727
Batchelor's Peas Knitting and Recipe Leaflet No.24X1993.695c Social History 1939-1945796
Beauchief Abbey, SheffieldK1955.13 Social History 18843873
bellJ1942.2 Social History before 188826883
bible2008.372 Social History 1864-18653784
bicycleL1931.85 Social History circa 187021659
bicycleL1934.5 Social History 188922141
blouse2013.117 Social History 1920-19302640
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