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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
recipe book1975.397 Social History 17211568
recordSH1027 Social History circa 1950531
record player2000.1 Social History 1952-1959142
registration card1975.689 Social History 1915-19181311
Rivelin Valley, near Black Brook, SheffieldK1912.1 Social History 1866926
River Don after the Flood, SheffieldK1955.4 Social History 1865861
River Don at Wardsend, Sheffield1981.717 Social History 1875887
River Sheaf and Shrewsbury Hospital, Sheffield.K1930.30 Social History circa 1825476
rosary1979.506 Social History 19141550
sampler1994.395n Social History circa 1960518
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