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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 Iris Office, Hartshead, SheffieldK1934.28 Social History 18592170
Sheffield Manor, about 1830K1934.21 Social History circa 18301598
shoe1985.514 Social History 1900-19381187
shoe1985.140 Social History 1972-19843020
Site of Crookes Valley Road, Sheffield 1882K1929.2 Social History 1882628
slip1972.36 Social History circa 1930495
souvenir2005.134 Social History 1942569
spoon2010.43 Social History 1902469
Spooner's Wheel, Rivelin, SheffieldK1956.8 Social History 1877918
St James's Church, Norton2009.264 Social History 1843-1881954
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