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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
The Sheffield Book of Recipes2000.45 Social History 1935-1936464
recipe book1975.397 Social History 17211448
ornament2010.219 Social History 1930-1969372
television1985.92 Social History 1933767
bus pass1990.229 Social History 1939-1945875
typewriter1970.57 Social History 1892-19372964
dog-tag1999.237 Social History 1939-1945366
souvenir2005.134 Social History 1942510
measureJ1910.15 Social History 1827359
model2002.41 Social History 2002363
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