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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 NumberSorted AscendingCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
car1981.892 Social History 1955-1960121
model (tram)2017.93 Social History circa 1957120
record player2000.1 Social History 1952-1959119
postcard1974.995.5 Social History 1914-1918384
postcard1974.995.4 Social History 1917364
postcard1973.653e Social History 1914-1918377
booklet1979.1002 Social History 1928350
postcard1979.1006 Social History 1930317
postcard1979.1007 Social History 1931315
case2017.210 Social History 1984-1985119
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