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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
Scraps of Paper... German proclamations in Belgium and France1976.1081 Social History 19161487
shawl2013.101 Social History 162
shawl2013.163 Social History 1920-1958160
shawl2013.166 Social History 1920-1958244
Sheffield and the Valley of the Don, 1863K1948.1 Social History circa 1863570
Sheffield from Crookes1972.151 Social History circa 1826617
Sheffield from Crookesmoor 1856K1931.52 Social History 1856646
Sheffield from HeeleyK1938.42 Social History circa 1830709
Sheffield from Psalter Lane1985.65 Social History 1828-1850638
Sheffield from Shrewsbury RoadK1952.1 Social History circa 1838641
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