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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
Sheffield from HeeleyK1938.42 Social History circa 18301002
Sheffield from Psalter Lane1985.65 Social History 1828-18501426
Sheffield from Shrewsbury RoadK1952.1 Social History circa 18381630
Sheffield from the Midland StationK1909.55 Social History 19091596
Sheffield General CemeteryK1903.4 Social History 18401652
Sheffield in 1836K86.27 Social History 18364744
Sheffield Iris Office, Hartshead, SheffieldK1934.28 Social History 18591876
Sheffield Manor, about 1830K1934.21 Social History circa 18301575
shoe1985.514 Social History 1900-19381089
shoe1985.140 Social History 1972-19843000
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