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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 NumberCollectionSorted AscendingDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
hair ornament2011.145a Social History 1974433
Wire Mill Dam2014.25 Social History 19759535
cross2002.44 Social History 19773583
eraser1999.252 Social History 1979-19902881
badge2008.77 Social History 1980-19893048
badge2006.41 Social History late 20th Century1038
badge2006.182 Social History late 20th Century959
badge2018.50 Social History 1980-1989985
badge2006.96 Social History 198212238
sticker2017.342 Social History 1982181
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