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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 ObjectSorted AscendingAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
weapon2014.136.2 Social History 1920-19294413
cosh2014.136.3 Social History 1920-1929446
Wire Mill Dam2014.25 Social History 197513123
box2015.195 Social History 1899-19291461
lamp, box, spectacles2015.23 Social History 1956385
postcard2015.324 Social History 1917370
Handkerchief case2015.477 Social History 1915-1959314
nightdress case2015.484 Social History 1915-1959322
scarf2015.55 Social History 1970-1988623
jam pan2015.603 Social History 1881-1900377
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