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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/FoundSorted DescendingTimes Viewed
fancy dress costume2013.146 Social History 1920-1930363
postcard1974.972w Social History 1914-1918361
handkerchief2013.103 Social History 361
postcard1974.972u Social History 1914-1918359
Olive Paper MillK28.11.75.9.10 Social History 1864-1875350
handkerchief2013.105 Social History 347
nightdress case2015.484 Social History 1915-1959346
handkerchief2013.108 Social History 338
Handkerchief case2015.477 Social History 1915-1959335
mat2013.115 Social History 1920-1940317
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