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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
bus pass1990.229 Social History 1939-1945607
buskJ1911.5 Social History 17905519
car1977.774 Social History 1920-19306097
certificate1995.224 Social History 19152328
chair, table2011.23 Social History 1939-1945599
chamber pot1994.4 Social History 19592954
chess board, chess peiceK1932.17 Social History circa 19003900
Christmas Eve 1932. First night of the pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield2004.91 Social History 2003-20041147
cigar case1971.753 Social History 1800-18643182
cigar, box1973.578 Social History 19144039
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