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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
lamp, box, spectacles2015.23 Social History 1956351
badge2006.41 Social History late 20th Century407
badge2006.182 Social History late 20th Century371
Handkerchief case2015.477 Social History 1915-195974
nightdress case2015.484 Social History 1915-195974
chair, table2011.23 Social History 1939-1945674
bottle1989.801 Social History circa 19101221
lunchbox1984.23 Social History 1870-1926340
purse2010.239 Social History 1923333
inhaler, box1981.931 Social History 1891-1920348
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